NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, has returned from an extended maintenance period and will resume science flights on May 22.
The May 22 mission will be a 10-hour, overnight flight where SOFIA will observe a number of celestial objects including an area of dense gas in the constellation Sagittarius. Researchers will also study the material remaining after a supernova explosion to better understand how these cataclysmic events impact the surrounding area and if these interactions form cosmic rays.
Following science missions on May 22 and 23, SOFIA will next deploy to Christchurch, New Zealand, on June 1, to investigate science targets best observed from the southern hemisphere.
SOFIA is a Boeing 747SP jetliner modified to carry a 106-inch diameter telescope. It is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center, DLR. NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley manages the SOFIA program, science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, and the German SOFIA Institute (DSI) at the University of Stuttgart. The aircraft is based at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center's Hangar 703, in Palmdale, California.
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Nicholas A. Veronico