SOFIA Program Overview CSTA Eddie Zavala Deputy Program Manager October 21, 2011 SS1 Orion Image
What is a model? • A model is a representation containing the essential structure of some object or event in the real world.
What are some types of models? • Physical: a model airplane or architect's model of a building • Diagram: a description or analogy used to help visualize something (as an atom) that cannot be directly observed • Symbolic: as in a natural language, a computer program, or a set of mathematical equations.
Background • SOFIA: Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy • Airborne Observatory using an extensively modified Boeing 747SP Aircraft • SOFIA established as a 80/20 partnership between US and Germany (NASA and DLR) • NASA receives 80% of available science time, DLR 20% • Two projects, Science and Platform • Science Project at Ames Research Center • Platform Project at Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility
Main Cabin (Pressurized) The Telescope Assembly (TA) TA Cavity (unpressurized) Science Instrument Under the skin...
Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors (educators)May 26 – July 15, 2011 Mary Blessing, Herndon, Va. CrisDeWolf, Remus, Mich. with Dana Backman (SETI) Pamela Harman (SETI) with Margaret Piper, Frankfort, Ill. Kathleen Fredette, Palmdale, CA Terry Herter (Cornell), Jim De Buizer (USRA) with Theresa Paulsen, Mellen, Wis. and Marita Beard, San Jose, Calif. Cecilia Scorza (DSI) with Wolfgang Vieser, Munich, Germany JörgTrebs, Berlin, Germany
How does SOFIA work? • Airborne Observatory made of 3 critical parts • Boeing 747 Aircraft that must fly at 41,000 ft (or higher) for a long time (10 – 12 hour missions) • 17 Metric-ton Reflective Telescope that must be able to point precisely at targets in the universe • Interchangeable Science Instruments that must be able to do infrared astronomy
SOFIA Areas of Interest Galaxies and the Galactic Center The Interstellar Medium of the Milky Way The Formation of Stars and Planets Planetary Science
The Orion Constellation Visible Light
The Orion Constellation The same region in Infrared Light
The Balancing Act of Flying C.G. (Center of Gravity) Balance = Equilibrium
Aircraft Flight Control System • Pilot commands • Flight Control Computer • Control Surfaces • Sensor Feedback
Volunteer Needed!! • Fly the airplane and keep equilibrium!! • In this Model… • What represents the airplane? • Broom stick = Airplane • What represents flight? • Balancing the broom stick = Flight • What represents the Flight Control Computer? • Your Brain = Flight Control Computer • What represents the control surface? • Hand movement = Control Surface • What is the sensor in this model? • Eye = Sensor Feedback
The SOFIA Telescope Inside the Cabin Exposed to the Sky
Closing Remarks • Science flights began in late 2010 • Excellent Program performance over the last year • Accomplished major milestones ahead of plan • Completing Open Door Envelope Expansion ahead of schedule allowed for accelerating technical capabilities within cost and schedule • Some Level 1 requirements demonstrated during Early Science phase • Implementation of EPO / Airborne Astronomy Ambassador program • Science results and Observatory performance met or exceeded expectations • Exciting Early Science Phase – Scientist very happy! • Principle Investigator Science • Competed Science with Guest Observers / Guest Investigators from both U.S. and Germany • Studying Galaxy, star, and solar system formation!