Why NASA's SOFIA Telescope On A Plane is "Perfectly Balanced"

191,800 views
  • 1 month ago
  • 8.9K
  • 102

The Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a marvel of modern engineering, a 2.5 Meter Infrared telescope flying in a specially modified 747, able to fly high above the water vapour that makes IR astronomy almost impossible for ground based observatories. This facility is a joint project between NASA and DLR and is based out of the Armstrong flight research center in California.
However making a telescope that can fly in a plane and still be stable enough to do the required science is an engineering challenge. It's one that's solved by smart engineering rather than just brute force active gimbal control, a solution which Thanos would approve of.

Find out more about SOFIA at the project's website: https://www.sofia.usra.edu/