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Paper: SOFIA: The future of airborne astronomy
Volume: 73, Airborne Astronomy Symposium on the Galactic Ecosystem: From Gas to Stars to Dust
Page: 707
Authors: Erickson, Edwin F.; Davidson, Jacqueline A.
Abstract: For the past 20 years, the 91 cm telescope in NASA's Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO) has enabled scientists to observe infrared sources which are obscured by the earth's atmosphere at ground-based sites, and to observe transient astronomical events from anywhere in the world. To augment this capability, the United States and German Space Agencies (NASA and DARA) are collaborating in plans to replace the KAO with a 2.5 meter telescope installed in a Boeing 747 aircraft: SOFIA - The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. SOFIA's large aperture, wide wavelength coverage, mobility, accessibility, and sophisticated instruments will permit a broad range of scientific studies, some of which are described here. Its unique features complement the capabilities of other future space missions. In addition, SOFIA has important potential as a stimulus for development of new technology and as a national resource for education of K-12 teachers. If started in 1996, SOFIA will be flying in the year 2000.
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