A Review of Science Ground Operations for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)
The NASA Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a 2.5m telescope in a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that is flown at high altitude to do unique astronomy in the infrared. SOFIA is a singular integration of aircraft operations, telescope design, and science instrumentation that delivers observational opportunities outside the capability of any other facility. The science ground operations are the transition and integration point of the science, aircraft, and telescope. We present the ground operations themselves and the tools used to prepare for mission success. Specifically, we will discuss operations from science instrument delivery to aircraft operation and mission readiness. We will also provide a discussion of instrument life cycle including maintenance and repair, both before and after acceptance by the observatory as well as retirement. Included in that will be a description of the facilities and their development, an overview of the SOFIA telescope assembly simulator, our deployment capabilities, as well as an outlook to the future of novel science instrument support for SOFIA.
Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation
- Pub Date:
- Infrared astronomy;
- ground support;
- mirror coating;
- telescope optics