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SOFIA Observatory Returns From New Zealand Deployment
August 5, 2013

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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 Friday morning 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.

NASA photos by Tom Tschida

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NASA's SOFIA flying observatory flares for landing at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., upon its return from its inaugural three-week southern hemisphere deployment to New Zealand Aug. 2.
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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., on Friday morning Aug. 2, 2013.
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., on Friday morning Aug. 2, 2013.
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Eddie Zavala, program manager of NASA's SOFIA flying observatory, greets NASA Dryden research pilot Troy Asher upon the SOFIA's return to the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., Aug. 2. Asher was the senior NASA representative on the SOFIA's deployment to New Zealand.
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Page Last Updated: September 5th, 2013
Page Editor: Jaimie Baccus