SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy)
Earth’s atmosphere protects us from harmful radiation, but it also blocks a lot of light useful for astronomy. For that reason, NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) built the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) to fly aboard a modified commercial aircraft capable of flying above 99% of the light-blocking atmosphere. SOFIA is a powerful, general-purpose infrared observatory used to study the birth of new stars, planetary nebulas and supernova remnants, the atmospheres of Solar System objects, and many more. The American portion of SOFIA management is handled by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), a private educational corporation consisting of over 100 institutions, including the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian.
Visit the SOFIA Website