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 a diameter of 2.7 meters (106 inches). The aircraft is based at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, Calif. The SOFIA Program Office is at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., which 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
Document Name Thumbnail Image Download Link File Size
SOFIA general fact sheet SOFIA general fact sheet Download Link 1.2 MB
EXES instrument fact sheet EXES fact sheet Download Link 1.1 MB
FIFI-LS instrument fact sheet FIFI-LS fact sheet Download Link 220 KB
FLITECAM instrument fact sheet (Retired 2018) FLITECAM fact sheet Download Link 891 KB
FORCAST instrument fact sheet FORCAST fact sheet Download Link 1.2 MB
FPI+ instrument fact sheet GREAT fact sheet Download Link 137 KB
GREAT instrument fact sheet GREAT fact sheet Download Link 1.2 MB
HAWC+ instrument fact sheet HAWC plus fact sheet Download Link 197 KB
HIPO instrument fact sheet (Retired 2018) HIPO fact sheet Download Link 1.3 MB
SOFIA science: M17 fact sheet SOFIA M17 fact sheet Download Link 1.6 MB
SOFIA science: M42 fact sheet SOFIA M42 fact sheet Download Link 1.4 MB
SOFIA science: Circumnuclear Ring fact sheet SOFIA CNR fact sheet Download Link 1.7 MB
SOFIA Studies SOFIA studies Download Link 813 KB