Space | 15. February 2017 | posted by Fabian Walker

Video: The flying observatory SOFIA

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
The flying observatory SOFIA is rolled into the NASA hangar in Palmdale.

How does the flying observatory SOFIA work? What is infrared astronomy? What sets SOFIA apart from other space observatories, and what happens on a typical day in the air?


In November 2016, we visited SOFIA at its home base in California, USA, and spoke with the project managers from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), DSI (German SOFIA Institute) and DLR. University researchers provide glimpses into the current research being conducted on board SOFIA, and a NASA flight engineer explains what it feels like to open the four-by-four metre door in the tail of the converted Boeing 747 SP. (FullHD, 10:30 minutes, 2017).

Video: The video teaser (FullHD, 1:49 minutes, 2017) 'Trailer: The flying observatory SOFIA':

We organise a programme in cooperation with our colleagues from DSI (German SOFIA Institute) that gives teachers the opportunity to experience a flight. We are keen to provide educators with inspiration for their classroom work and to show them at first-hand what it is like to conduct research on board SOFIA. This means that groups of teachers can take to the air on SOFIA and learn how modern astronomical research actually takes place. (FullHD, 4:12 minutes, 2017 – German only).


About the author

Fabian Walker has been an online editor in the DLR communications department since 2012. Until 2007, he studied audiovisual media at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne with a focus on documentary film directing. He then worked as a freelance writer for the online editorial team of the WDR. to authorpage