NASA’s SOFIA flying observatory taxis in to the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility after landing moments earlier at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., Aug. 2, 2013.
NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy has returned to its base at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., following its inaugural three-week southern hemisphere deployment to New Zealand.
The SOFIA flying observatory touched down at the adjacent Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale shortly after 7 a.m. on Aug. 2, 2013.
The highly modified Boeing 747SP carrying a high-tech German-built 2.5-meter infrared telescope conducted nine astronomical science flights from a deployment base at Christchurch, N.Z., during the southern hemisphere deployment. Mission manager Edward Harmon labeled the campaign a complete success, and said scientists and astronomers will be analyzing the data received from observations of the Milky Way galaxy for months to come.
A second southern hemisphere deployment to New Zealand is planned in 2015.