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Tag: 12min

Inside NASA’s SOFIA Airborne Astronomical Observatory


As the world’s largest flying observatory, NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, is a unique space-science asset. SOFIA incorporates a 19-ton German-built telescope with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters in a highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that flies astronomical science missions at altitudes between 39,000 and 45,000 feet, above 99 percent of the infrared-blocking water vapor in the atmosphere.