News Releases

Michael Mewhinney
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Jan. 11, 2008
World's Largest Airborne Observatory to Land at NASA Ames
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- The world’s largest airborne observatory will be briefly visiting NASA Ames Research Center and news media are invited for a tour.

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) airborne observatory is currently conducting flight tests at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., and is scheduled to visit the Bay Area on Monday, Jan. 14. Ames employees have been invited to bring their families to see the observatory during its brief visit that is not open to the general public.

SOFIA features a 2.5-meter (98.4-inch) diameter infrared telescope mounted in a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft. Flying at 41,000 to 45,000 feet, it will enable scientific observations that Earth-based telescopes cannot accomplish. After flight tests are completed in a couple of years, SOFIA’s science operations will be managed by Ames.

WHAT: An opportunity to see and tour NASA’s airborne observatory during a brief visit to NASA Ames.

WHEN: Monday, Jan. 14, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. PST for tours of the aircraft. SOFIA is scheduled to land at approximately noon. Media wishing to photograph SOFIA’s arrival should plan to arrive at Ames by 11:30 a.m. for media escorts to the flight line.

WHO: SOFIA experts will be available for interviews.

WHERE: NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Bldg. 158. To reach NASA Ames, take U.S. Highway 101 to the Moffett Field, NASA Parkway exit and drive east on Moffett Boulevard towards the main gate and bear right into the parking lot. Media interested in photographing or touring the aircraft should contact Mike Mewhinney at 650-604-3937 or 650-207-1323, by 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 14.

To view images from this event, visit:

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