SOFIA was flown from Cologne, Germany, home of the German Aerospace Center, to the Stuttgart Airport, home of the nearby German SOFIA Institute located at the University of Stuttgart on the morning of Sept. 19, 2011. No science was conducted during the short flight, approximately 290 km (180 miles) between the two cities.
"Our move to Stuttgart enables our partners at the German SOFIA Institute to showcase the observatory to its researcher staff, invited guests, and the general public," said NASA SOFIA Program Manager Bob Meyer. "In addition to the German SOFIA Institute, many people and companies in Germany have contributed to our success. SOFIA’s telescope was built by MT-Aerospace AG and Kayser-THrede GmbH under the direction of the German Aerospace Center, and we are flying the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies (GREAT) that was developed by a team led by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy. Those teams, and many others, should be proud of what has been achieved to date with SOFIA."
While at Stuttgart, the aircraft can be seen from the upper deck of the Stuttgart Airport terminal where the German SOFIA Institute has a science display. The aircraft is scheduled to depart for a science flight across the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
SOFIA’s display at Stuttgart is the second stop on the observatory’s first international deployment. Science was conducted on the eastbound leg, on Sept. 16/17, and the GREAT instrument will again collect infrared observational data on the westbound flight. The aircraft is scheduled to land in the United States on the morning of Sept. 22, 2011.