Tech

June 4, 2014

NASA declares SOFIA Observatory fully operational

The door to the SOFIA observatory’s 2.5-meter telescope is wide open during a developmental test flight in 2010.

On June 2, 2014, during the 224th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Boston, Mass., Paul Hertz, NASA’s Astrophysics Division director, announced that the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy has passed its Key Decision Point E and been transitioned into the operational phase.

“We have now formally completed the development phase of SOFIA and declared the observatory operational. That’s the equivalent of a launch for a space mission,” said Hertz.

The technical criteria for SOFIA’s transition to its operational phase were met in February 2014, and NASA’s formal review was completed on May 29. Prior to the KDP-E declaration last week, SOFIA demonstrated an impressive rate of science operations in April/May by flying 14 flights, encompassing more than 100 successful science mission hours, in 30 days.

In parallel with the mission milestone, commissioning flights for the observatory’s fifth instrument, the Field-Imaging Far-Infrared Line Spectrometer, were completed in April, and flights to commission SOFIA’s sixth instrument, the Echelon-Cross Echelle Spectrograph, began later that month.

As commissioning work continues with EXES, a pair of second-generation instruments / instrument upgrades continue development. An American-built instrument, the High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera-Plus (HAWC+), a far-infrared camera with polarized light detection capabilities that began development at the University of Chicago, is nearing completion at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. A set of enhancements, dubbed “upGREAT” to the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies (GREAT) spectrometer, will further enhance that instrument’s already impressive performance.

SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center. The aircraft is based at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Centerís facility in Palmdale, Calif. NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center manages the program. NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., manages the SOFIA science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association headquartered in Columbia, Md., and the German SOFIA Institute at the University of Stuttgart.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 29, 2015

News: Lockheed F-35s reliability found wanting in shipboard testing – The Marine Corps’ version of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter demonstrated poor reliability in a 12-day exercise at sea, according to the U.S. military’s top testing officer.   Business: Rockwell Collins to upgrade Boeing comms system – Rockwell Collins will upgrade the low-frequency transmi...
 
 

News Briefs July 29, 2015

U.S. Navy examines health concerns near Guantanamo court A complaint lodged with the Pentagon has prompted the U.S. Navy to look into the possible presence of anything that may cause cancer in a section of the base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a military spokeswoman said July 28. The Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center and...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Betty R. Chevalier

New interrogation system installed on AWACS, more in pipeline

Air Force photograph by SrA. Betty R. Chevalier An E-3 Sentry AWACS from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., prepares to land May 16, 2015. AWACS have the capability to detect enemy as well as friendly aircraft at great distances usi...
 

 

Remains of Pearl Harbor victims raised for identification

The military July 27 exhumed more caskets containing the unidentified remains of USS Oklahoma crew members killed in the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency disinterred five coffins from four grave sites at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, where they have rested for decades. The work is...
 
 
Boeing photograph

Boeing Oklahoma City expansion grows facilities, business presence

Boeing photograph July 29, Boeing broke ground on a new laboratory facility in Oklahoma City. Mayor Mick Cornett, Commissioner Brian Maughan, President of Boeing Global Services and Support Leanne Caret, Oklahoma Governor Mary ...
 
 

NASA awards contract to support agency’s human spaceflight programs

NASA has selected Wyle Laboratories Inc., of El Segundo, Calif., to provide biomedical, medical and health services in support of all human spaceflight programs at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The work supports ongoing research aboard the International Space Station and helps enable the journey to Mars. The Human Health and Performance contract...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>