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Visions of the Universe

Four Centuries of Discovery

Dana Backman’s Telescope


NASA is developing the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy as a world-class airborne observatory, in partnership with the German Space Agency (DLR). Flying at altitudes of up to 45,000 feet, SOFIA will house a 2.5-meter reflecting telescope in a Boeing 747SP airliner. SOFIA will be the largest airborne observatory in the world, and will complement the Hubble, Spitzer, Herschel and James Webb space telescopes and major Earth-based telescopes.

SOFIA Website: