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NASA Science



2011 American Astronautical Society Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium--Charles Gay, NASA

2011 American Astronautical Society Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium--Charles Gay, NASA



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  • December 18, 2009 -- SOFIA reached a milestone Friday when doors covering the plane’s fully opened in flight. The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, a modified 747 jet known as SOFIA, flew for one hour and 19 minutes, which included two minutes with the telescope’s doors fully opened. The goal was to allow engineers to understand how air flows in and around the telescope. It was the first time outside air has interacted with the part of the plane that carries the 98-inch infrared telescope.“Today we opened the telescope cavity door, the first time we have fully exposed the telescope and the largest cavity ever flown while in flight,” said Bob Meyer, SOFIA program manager at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif. “This is a significant step toward certifying NASA’s next great observatory for future study of the universe.”Besides these test flights of the airplane, two flights to operate and verify the scientific capabilities of the telescope assembly are planned for spring 2010. Telescope systems such as the vibration isolation system, the inertial stabilization system and the pointing control system will be tested during daytime flights.These flights will prepare the telescope assembly for the first flight with the telescope operating. That first flight will be the initial opportunity scientists have to use the telescope and begin the process of quantifying its performance to prepare for SOFIA’s planned 20-year science program.

NASA Science NASA Science Presentation Transcript

  • NASA Science
    AAS Goddard Symposium
    March 30, 2011
    Mr. Charles Gay
    Deputy Associate Administrator for SMD
  • MESSENGER At Mercury
    After passing Earth once and Venus twice, MESSENGER successfully reached orbit insertion at Mercury on March 17, 2011.
  • First MESSENGER Image of Mercury from Orbit
  • Dawn Arrives at Vesta 07.16.11
  • Juno Nearing Completion for Launch
    Juno in Assembly
    Juno Solar Array Deployment
  • GRAIL Nearing Completion for Launch 09.08.11
    GRAIL-A in Assembly
  • Mars Science Laboratory11.25.11 Launch
    SAM Installation
    Rover Driving Test
    Descent Stage
    Assembled Spacecraft
  • Aquarius: Measuring Sea Surface Salinity06.09.11
    Aquarius is being shipped this week from Brazil to VAFB
    Artist Rendition of Observatory in orbit
    Aquarius/SAC-D observatory in Brazil after Environmental Testing
  • NPOESS Preparatory Project10.25.11
    NPP data will both extend the record of key climate measurements from EOS feed weather forecasting models as part of the operational polar weather satellite system.
  • Radiation Belt Storm Probes – 05.18.12
    Two-spacecraft mission to study the Van Allen Belts and the Sun’s influence on near-Earth space
    Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
  • SOFIA Science Flights Have Begun
    First Science Flight
    December 1, 2010
    SOFIA image of the Messier 42 nebula reveals cluster of high-luminosity stars (upper-right) hidden by dust from visible-light imagers
  • Hardware Fabrication and Testing Continues on JWST
    Cryogenic Test #5 at MSFC
  • SMD Solicitations
  • NRC Decadal Surveys Shaping Future Plans
    Earth Science – “Earth Science and Applications from Space” (NRC, 2007) influenced FY2011 request
    Astrophysics – “New Worlds, New Horizons” (NRC, 2010) reflected in FY2012 budget request
    • WFIRST Science Definition Team selected
    • Explorer augmentation
    • Technology development for medium-class missions
    Planetary Science – “Visions and Voyages” (NRC, 2011) will be used to shape the FY2013 budget request
    Heliophysics – New decadal survey expected in Spring 2012; will be used to shape the FY2014 budget request