About the author

Dietmar Lilienthal

Dietmar Lilienthal has been a member of the SOFIA project for 15 years and he supervised the electrical and software integration of the SOFIA telescope into the Boeing 747SP in the United States. He also created the contractual undertakings for the establishment of the German SOFIA Institute (DSI) at the University of Stuttgart and, during the difficult phase of transferring SOFIA from Waco, Texas to the SOFIA Operations Center at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Southern California, coordinated the project at DLR.

Since the takeover of operational tasks by DSI, he devotes himself, in addition to his work as a project manager for BepiColombo, Gaia and EUCLID, to the interfaces with the German instruments GREAT and FIFI-LS and their scientific use on SOFIA.

Posts from Dietmar Lilienthal

BlogName6 | 12. February 2014

Deutsche Lehrer erkundeten mit SOFIA den Sternenhimmel

In der letzten Januar- und der ersten Februarwoche war SOFIA, die fliegende Sternwarte von NASA und DLR, wieder über dem kalifornischen Himmel unterwegs. Mit im Einsatz: Das deutsche Instrument GREAT. Im Rahmen des SOFIA-Bildungsprogramms hatte das im Auftrag des DLR Raumfahrtmanagements tätige Deutsche SOFIA Institut (DSI) an der Universität Stuttgart den Mitflug für vier deutsche Lehrer organisiert: Jörg Dewitz, Sven Hanssen, Olaf Hofschulz und Uwe Schierhorn. Sie begleiten SOFIA seit mehreren Jahren und behandeln astronomische Themen in Theorie und Praxis in ihrem Unterricht. read more

BlogName6 | 06. May 2013

SOFIA: Bereit für den Südhimmel

Es sollte doch alles Routine sein, denn immerhin stand am 10. April 2013 bereits der 100. SOFIA-Flug bevor. Aber ehe es zu dem als "Engineering Flight" geplanten Jubiläumsflug mit dem deutschen Instrument GREAT (German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies) an Bord der 747SP und den sich anschließenden beiden Wissenschaftsflügen vom Betriebszentrum in Kalifornien aus kommen konnte, wurde der gesamte Zeitplan der Kampagne durch unerwartete technische Herausforderungen und die harschen Wetterbedingungen völlig infrage gestellt. read more

BlogName6 | 06. June 2011 | 4 Comments

'Live' airborne astronomy

I had already been working on the SOFIA project for some years, when back in 1998, a consortium of German research institutes (Max-Planck Institute of Radio Astronomy in Bonn, University of Cologne, Max-Planck Institute of Solar System Research and the DLR Institute of Planetary Research) decided to develop the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies (GREAT) as the Principal Investigator-class Science Instrument for the first generation at the SOFIA Observatory. At this time, the aim was for the observatory to be operational by the end of 2001. It was not only the optimists who were expecting the GREAT spectrometer to soon enter operational service. Back then, who could have thought that it would take 13 years for GREAT to fly on SOFIA for the first time? read more

BlogName6 | 14. February 2011

First ground-based test observations with GREAT completed successfully

It has been an exciting few weeks conducting the first ground-based astronomical test observations, referred to as 'Line Ops', with the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies (GREAT), at the SOFIA operations centre at Palmdale in the Mojave Desert. The mission was to install GREAT and carry out the initial operational tests. read more