The NASA Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), is a 2.5 meter telescope in a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that is flown at high altitude to do unique astronomy in the infrared. SOFIA is a singular integration of aircraft operations, telescope design, and science instrumentation that delivers observational opportunities outside the capability of any other facility. The science ground operations are the transition and integration point of the science, aircraft, and telescope. We present the ground operations themselves and the tools used to prepare for mission success. Specifically, we will discuss the concept of operations from science instrument delivery to aircraft operation and mission readiness. Included in that will be a description of the facilities and their development, an overview of the SOFIA telescope assembly simulator, as well as an outlook to the future of novel science instrument support for SOFIA
The ALMA telescope will be an interferometer of 64 antennas, which will be situated in the Atacama desert in Chile. Each antenna will have receivers that cover the frequencies 30 GHz to 970 GHZ. This frequency range is divided into 10 frequency bands. All of these receiver bands are fitted on a cartridge and cooled, with bands 1 and 2 at 15K and the other 8 are SIS receivers at a temperature of 4K. Each band has a dual polarization receiver. The optics has been designed so that the maximum of the optics is cooled to minimize the noise temperature increase to the receivers.
The design of the optics will be shown for each frequency bands. Test results with the method of testing on a near field amplitude and phase measurement system will be given for the first 4 frequency bands to be used, which are bands 3 (84-116 GHz), 6 (211-275GHz), 7 (275-375 GHz and 9 (600-702 GHz). These measurements will be compared with physical optics calculations.
This work presents spectroscopic characterization results for biological simulant materials measured in the terahertz gap. Signature data have been collected between 3 cm-1 and 10 cm-1 for toxin Ovalbumin, bacteria Erwinia herbicola, Bacillus Subtilis lyophilized cells and RNA MS2 phage, BioGene. Measurements were conducted on a modified Bruker FTIR spectrometer equipped with the noise source developed in the NRAL. The noise source provides two orders of magnitude higher power in comparison with a conventional mercury lamp. Photometric characterization of the instrument performance demonstrates that the expected error for sample characterization inside the interval from 3 to 9.5 cm-1 is less then 1%.
A 16-element SIS heterodyne array for operation in the 625 micrometer atmospheric window is under development at the MPIfR. The array consists of 2 X 8 elements with closest feasible spacing of the pixels on the sky ((root)2 (DOT) (Theta) mb). The L.O. tuning range covers the astronomically important CI and the CO(4-3) transitions, and an IF bandwidth of 2 GHz (1200 kms-1) will permit mapping of extragalactic systems. For best system sensitivity the design allows for cold optics ( 15K) and single-sideband operation. The frontend will be linked to a flexible autocorrelator, with a maximum bandwidth of 2 GHz (2048 channels) for each of the 16 modules. In the high-resolution mode, 500 MHz of bandwidth can be operated with 8192 channels of 61 kHz spectral resolution. System components are currently undergoing final integration and critical evaluation in our laboratories. First astronomical commissioning is scheduled for later this year. The sensitivity expected with CHAMP, for e.g. carbon studies, will be unparalleled. With the full array in SSB operation the mapping speed will be enhanced by a factor of 50 - 100 compared to current single-pixel detectors.