Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)



NASA's 747SP SOFIA Arrives at Edwards AFB, May 31, 2007

NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a Boeing 747SP modified to carry a 2.5 meter diameter infra-red telescope, arrived at Edwards Air Force Base early in the afternoon on May 31, 2007. It will conduct infra-red astronomical observations above most of the water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere.

NASA's 747SP SOFIA Arrives at Edwards AFB, May 31, 2007 NASA's Grumman C-20A Gulfstream 83-0502 made the flight from Waco, Texas to Edwards Air Force Base about twenty minutes ahead of SOFIA.

NASA's 747SP SOFIA Arrives at Edwards AFB, May 31, 2007 NASA Boeing 747SP-21, N747NA Clipper Lindbergh.

NASA's 747SP SOFIA Arrives at Edwards AFB, May 31, 2007 This 747SP-21 carries Boeing construction number 21441. It made its first flight on Apriul 25, 1977. It was delivered to Pan Am as N536PA on May 6, 1977. Pan Am named it Clipper Lindbergh. United Airlines bought it on February 13, 1986. United changed its registration to N145UA on November 1, 1986. It made its last revenue flight, and the last scheduled revenue flight of a 747SP in the United States, on October 17, 1994. It was withdrawn from use and parked at Oakland on October 18, 1994. It was ferried to Las Vegas on or before November 1, 1995. NASA bought it on January 1, 1997. It was ferried to San Francisco on February 17, 1997 and repainted with new titles identifying it as SOFIA on February 20. It entered a hangar at Waco, Texas for paint stripping and maintenance on May 1, 1999. The registration N747NA was reserved for it on December 17, 2004. It made its first flight after modification on April 26, 2007. After a series of local flights in the vicinity of Waco, it was ferried to its new home at the Dryden Flight Research Center.

NASA's 747SP SOFIA Arrives at Edwards AFB, May 31, 2007 SOFIA was escorted on the approach to Edwards by NASA McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18B Hornet, N846NA.

NASA's 747SP SOFIA Arrives at Edwards AFB, May 31, 2007

NASA's 747SP SOFIA Arrives at Edwards AFB, May 31, 2007

NASA's 747SP SOFIA Arrives at Edwards AFB, May 31, 2007 Eighteen years ago: The same 747SP flying for United Airlines as N145UA at Los Angeles on January 20, 1989.

NASA Dryden Flight Research Center released the following statement:

The heavily modified Boeing 747SP was ferried to Dryden May 31 from Waco, Texas, where L-3 Communications Integrated Systems installed a German-built 2.5-meter infrared telescope and made other major modifications over the past several years. SOFIA will undergo installation and integration of mission systems and a multi-phase flight test program at Dryden over the next three years that is expected to lead to a full operational capability to conduct astronomy missions in about 2010. During its expected 20-year lifetime, SOFIA will be capable of "Great Observatory" class astronomical science, providing astronomers with access to the visible, infrared and sub-millimeter spectrum with optimized performance in the mid-infrared to sub-millimeter range.

Edwards Air Force Base, September 26, 2007

NASA's 747SP SOFIA, September 26, 2007 SOFIA at Edwards Air Force Base on September 26, 2007.

NASA's 747SP SOFIA, September 26, 2007

Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility Dedication, April 9, 2009

NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale was dedicated on April 9, 2009.

Boeing 747SP N747NA SOFIA NASA's Boeing 747SP N747NA, the Stratospheric Observatory For Infra-red Astronomy (SOFIA) is housed in the newly dedicated Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility.

View this Gigapan in Google Earth.

Boeing 747SP N747NA SOFIA

Boeing 747SP N747NA SOFIA A 2.5-meter diameter infra-red telescope will look out through the large opening of the fuselage.

Boeing 747SP N747NA SOFIA

View this Gigapan in Google Earth.

Boeing 747SP N747NA SOFIA

Art Prints You can buy framed prints of this photograph.

The Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale houses a fleet of NASA airplanes: Gulfstream III N803NA, Beechcraft Super King Air N7NA, Boeing 747SP N747NA Stratospheric Observatory For Infra-red Astronomy (SOFIA), Dpig;as DC-8-72 N817NA, Lockheed ER-2 N809NA, and Boeing 747-SCA N911NA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

View this Gigapan in Google Earth.

Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility

Photography Prints You can buy framed prints of this photograph.

Saline Valley, April 9, 2010

NASA Boeing 747SP N747NA Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy 9:58 AM: NASA Boeing 747SP N747NA Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy (SOFIA) flew a racetrack pattern with a NASA F/A-18B Hornet chase plane.

NASA Boeing 747SP N747NA Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy SOFIA

NASA Boeing 747SP N747NA Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy SOFIA with NASA F/A-18B

NASA Boeing 747SP N747NA Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy 10:26 AM: SOFIA with NASA F/A-18B

NASA Boeing 747SP N747NA Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy SOFIA with NASA F/A-18B

NASA Boeing 747SP N747NA Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy SOFIA

NASA Boeing 747SP N747NA Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy 10:56 AM: SOFIA with NASA F/A-18B

NASA Boeing 747SP N747NA Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy SOFIA

NASA Boeing 747SP N747NA Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy 11:24 AM: SOFIA with NASA F/A-18B

NASA Boeing 747SP N747NA Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy SOFIA



Links

Link to the Universities Space Research Association SOFIA page.

Link to the NASA Ames Research Center SOFIA page.

Link to the NASA Dryden Research Center SOFIA photo gallery page.

Link to the Boeing 747SP Website - History for airframe# 21441.

Link to the NASA SOFIA Mission page.







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