Aircraft and airborne system development
L-3 Communications Integrated Systems
NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, CA, has contracted L-3 Communications Integrated Systems to perform further developmental engineering on the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). L-3 will develop and test the SOFIA Airborne System, including modification, fabrication, installation, integration, and verification of various systems to meet mission requirements. L-3 also will complete the SOFIA subsystems, including the Mission Control and Communication System, and will provide flight test support for the telescope cavity door-open flight tests and early science flight programs. L-3 is conducting ground/flight test activities to deliver a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)- certified aircraft system, and will provide sustaining engineering for the life of SOFIA.
The SOFIA project incorporates a 2.5-meter-diameter infrared telescope in a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that will carry the telescope into the stratosphere to conduct astronomical research. Scientific instruments mounted in the observatory will be capable of celestial observations ranging from visible light through the sub-millimeter far-infrared spectrum. The observatory also includes a ground-based science center. SOFIA is a joint program between NASA and the German Space Agency, and is currently managed at NASA Dryden. NASA Ames Research Center manages the SOFIA science and mission operations in cooperation with the University Space Research Association (USRA) and the German Space Agency.