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10 November 2003 Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy: SOFIA
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The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) will carry a 2.5 meter effective aperture telescope onboard a Boeing 747SP aircraft to altitudes of 41,000 to 45,000 ft, above most of the atmosphere's IR-absorbing water vapor. SOFIA will start its astrophysical observations in early 2005, flying from Moffett Field, California with a suite of specialized cameras and spectrometers covering wavelengths between 0.3 and 600 m. A high-speed visible range CCD camera will use the airborne observatory to chase the shadows of celestial bodies during occultations. The SOFIA telescope was designed and built in Germany and has been delivered to the U.S. in September 2002. Its integration into the B747SP is well advanced so flight-testing will start in mid of 2004. After an initial test phase dedicated to the re-certification of the modified aircraft, functional and performance tests of the telescope and other scientific systems will commence. At NASA's Ames Research Center the ground support facilities for the observatory are being prepared.
© (2003) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Jürgen Wolf, Sean C. Casey, and Jacqueline A. Davidson "Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy: SOFIA", Proc. SPIE 5152, Infrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing XI, (10 November 2003);


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