design element
SOFIA banner  
news image top About SOFIA        
news image bottom
design element



Other SOFIA Websites

DSI logo
USRA logo

link to Kuiper Airborne Observatory
Learn more about SOFIA's predecessor
Kuiper Airborne

Home > About SOFIA

The World's Premier Airborne Observatory

SOFIA is the largest airborne observatory in the world, capable of making observations that are impossible for even the largest and highest ground-based telescopes. During its planned 20-year lifetime, SOFIA also will inspire the development of new scientific instrumentation and foster the education of young scientists and engineers.

SOFIA is an 80/20 partnership of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), consisting of an extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a reflecting telescope with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters (100 inches). The aircraft is based at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, Calif. The SOFIA Program Office is at NASA Armstrong and is expected to move to NASA Ames at the beginning of Government Fiscal Year 2015. NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. manages SOFIA's science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association (USRA; Columbia, Md.) and the German SOFIA Institute (DSI; University of Stuttgart).

SOFIA Quick Facts

SOFIA Informational sheets


SOFIA general information


EXES instrument


FLITECAM instrument


FORCAST instrument


GREAT instrument


HIPO instrument


FIFI-LS instrument


SOFIA science: M17


SOFIA science: M42


SOFIA science: Galactic Center Circumnuclear Ring





Article about SOFIA from Mercury Magazine (pdf)

Mercury Magazine



  design element
design element
design element
design element