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Paper: Planning and Executing Airborne Astronomy Missions for SOFIA
Volume: 411, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XVIII
Page: 314
Authors: Gross, M.A.K.; Shuping, R.Y.
Abstract: SOFIA is a 2.5m airborne infrared telescope, mounted in a Boeing 747SP aircraft. Due to the large size of the telescope, only a few degrees of azimuth are available at the telescope bearing. This means the heading of the aircraft is fundamentally associated with the telescope’s observation targets, and the ground track necessary to enable a given mission is highly complex and dependent on the coordinates, duration, and order of observations to be performed. We have designed and implemented a Flight Management Infrastructure (FMI) product in order to plan and execute such missions in the presence of a large number of external constraints (e.g. restricted airspace, international boundaries, elevation limits of the telescope, aircraft performance, winds at altitude, and ambient temperatures). We present an overview of the FMI, including the process, constraints and basic algorithms used to plan and execute SOFIA missions.
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