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 November 21, 2014

News: Dempsey lays groundwork for larger 2016 defense budget - The top U.S. military official on Wednesday made the case for growing the base defense budget significantly over the $535 billion spending cap imposed by Congress for fiscal 2015.   Business: Boeing can bill $61 million that Pentagon withheld for months - The Pentagon withheld $60.5 million...
 
 

News Briefs November 21, 2014

Obama aide: U.S. should look at Ukraine military aid A senior aide of President Barack Obama says he believes the U.S. should consider giving Ukraine lethal, defensive military assistance to get Russia to think twice about its destabilizing behavior. Tony Blinken, the deputy national security adviser, cites serious violations by Russia of agreements not to...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Divine Cox

Kunsan AB hosts Exercise Max Thunder 14-2

Air Force photograph by SrA. Divine Cox A South Korean air force F-15 Strike Eagle lands Nov. 17, 2014, during Max Thunder 14-2 at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy personnel and aircraft...
 

 
LM-facility

Lockheed Martin opens Surface Navy Innovation Center

Lockheed Martin has opened the Surface Navy Innovation Center in Moorestown, N.J., to support the development of new technologies for the U.S. Navy. The SNIC is a research, development and demonstration facility that brings tog...
 
 
raytheon-test

Raytheon successfully demonstrates complex, integrated electronic warfare capabilities during prototype flight tests

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Raytheon, in collaboration with the U.S. Navy, successfully demonstrated an end to end, first of its kind, integrated electronic attack system during flight tests at the Naval Air Weapons Station Chi...
 
 

Three bases identified as F-16 aggressor candidate bases

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford Jr. A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron lands at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 6 during RED FLAG-Alaska 15-1. RF-A is a series of Pacific Air Forces commander-directed field training exercises for U.S. and partner nation...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>