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 National Ignition Facility (NIF) has a need for measuring gamma radiation as part of a nuclear diagnostic program.
A new gamma-detection diagnostic uses 90° off-axis parabolic mirrors to relay Cherenkov light from a volume of
pressurized gas. This nonimaging optical system has the high-speed detector placed at a stop position with the
Cherenkov light delayed until after the prompt gammas have passed through the detector. Because of the wavelength
range (250 to 700 nm), the optical element surface finish was a key design constraint. A cluster of four channels (each
set to a different gas pressure) will collect the time histories for different energy ranges of gammas.
The National Ignition Facility and the Omega Laser Facility both have a need for measuring prompt gamma radiation as
part of a nuclear diagnostic program. A new gamma-detection diagnostic using off-axis-parabolic mirrors has been built.
Some new techniques were used in the design, construction, and tolerancing of this gamma ray diagnostic. Because of
the wavelength requirement (250 to 700 nm), the optical element surface finishes were a key design consideration. The
optical enclosure had to satisfy pressure safety concerns and shielding against electromagnetic interference induced by
gammas and neutrons. Structural finite element analysis was needed to meet rigorous optical and safety requirements.
The optomechanical design is presented. Alignment issues are also discussed.
Superconducting Gamma-ray microcalorimeters operated at temperatures around ~0.1 K offer an order of magnitude improvement in energy resolution over conventional high-purity Germanium spectrometers. The calorimeters consist of a ~1 mm3 superconducting or insulating absorber and a sensitive thermistor, which are weakly coupled to a cold bath. Gamma-ray capture increases the absorber temperature in proportion to the Gamma-ray energy, this is measured by the thermistor, and both subsequently cool back down to the base temperature through the weak link. We are developing ultra-high-resolution Gamma-ray spectrometers based on Sn absorbers and superconducting Mo/Cu multilayer thermistors for nuclear non-proliferation applications. They have achieved an energy resolution between 60 and 90 eV for Gamma-rays up to 100 keV. We also build two-stage adiabatic demagnetization refrigerators for user-friendly detector operation at 0.1 K. We present recent results on the performance of single pixel Gamma-ray spectrometers, and discuss the design of a large detector array for increased sensitivity.