NASA

NASA DC-8 Cockpit During Blue Hour

Flying on the NASA DC-8: Observing an Airborne Science Lab in Action

NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center operates a number of aircraft out of Building 703 at Palmdale airport. Among those, two airliners from yesteryear – a Boeing 747SP and a Douglas DC-8 – that found a new life as research aircraft can be found. Last year, I had a chance to fly on the larger one …

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Inside Armstrong Building 703: The Home of NASA’s State-of-the-Art Research Aircraft

Inside Armstrong Building 703: The Home of NASA’s State-of-the-Art Research Aircraft

While NASA is best known for the work it does in connection with space travel and exploration, every day the agency’s engineers, researchers, and other staff work hard to make advances in the field of aeronautics as well. One of NASA’s divisions responsible for that is the Armstrong Flight Research Center – known until 2014 as …

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Aurora Australis

NASA 747, Cleared for Take-Off: Observing a SOFIA Mission

Every summer, NASA’s airborne observatory SOFIA leaves its base in Palmdale, California, and heads to Christchurch, New Zealand to observe the Southern Sky. Being in the southern hemisphere for a couple of months not only allows scientists to observe celestial objects that cannot be seen from the Northern Hemisphere, but it also allows them to …

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"Per Aspera Ad Astra:" The Complexities of Operating SOFIA

“Per Aspera Ad Astra:” The Complexities of Operating SOFIA

Every year, NASA’s airborne observatory SOFIA takes off about a hundred times to help scientists gather data to better understand our solar system and the rest of the universe. Each of those flights, however, starts way before the heavily modified Boeing 747SP gets in the air. Each of them involves getting a large amount of …

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Introduction: Experiencing SOFIA's Southern Deployment 2018 in Christchurch

Introduction: Experiencing SOFIA’s Southern Deployment 2018 in Christchurch

Suppose you were shooting at a target moving from your left to your right at 100,000 kilometers per hour with a bullet traveling at 950 kilometers per hour. Substitute “shooting a target” for “aiming to witness a stellar occultation” and “a bullet” for “an aircraft,” and you roughly get one of the most challenging missions …

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