NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, has arrived at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The heavily modified Boeing 747SP was ferried to Dryden May 31 from Waco, Texas, where L-3 Communications Integrated Systems installed a German-built 2.5-meter infrared telescope and made other major modifications over the past several years. SOFIA will undergo installation and integration of mission systems and a multi-phase flight test program at Dryden over the next three years that is expected to lead to a full operational capability to conduct astronomy missions in about 2010. During its expected 20-year lifetime, SOFIA will be capable of "Great Observatory" class astronomical science, providing astronomers with access to the visible, infrared and sub-millimeter spectrum with optimized performance in the mid-infrared to sub-millimeter range.
PHOTO EDITORS: High-resolution photos to support this release are available electronically on the NASA Dryden web site at: http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/SOFIA/index.html
TELEVISION EDITORS: B-roll video and edited interview sound bites related to this release will air on NASA TV's media channel during the Video File news feeds beginning June 1. NASA TV's Video File news feed is broadcast on the agency's Media Channel (Program 103) at 9 a.m. with replays at noon, 3, 4 and 9 p.m. and 3 and 7 a.m., all times Pacific. For Video File schedule information visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
RADIO EDITORS: Audio clips from an interview with NASA Dryden's SOFIA project manager John Carter are available in MP-3 format to support this release are available at: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/home/07-31P_mm.html
For more information about NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and its research projects, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden on the Internet.
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