SOFIA plans to retire

Say your goodbyes now to what is perhaps the oddest, most successful Earth-based NASA telescope of all time.

NASA may be sending SOFIA, a flying telescope mounted on a Boeing 747 plane into early retirement. It is one of the casualties of an otherwise stellar budget proposal for the fiscal year 2021, the agency announced Monday.

SOFIA has spent nearly 10 years of observing planets, comets and asteroids in our Solar System.

But despite a whopping $25 billion ear-marked for the agency a 12 percent increase from this year’s NASA budget SOFIA did not make the cut.

Most of the money is instead directed towards a new era of space travel, marked by upcoming missions to return humans to the Moon and to Mars.

SOFIA launched in 2010, with the plan to keep it flying until the early 2030’s. But NASA’s 2021 budget proposal calls for its complete elimination from our skies.

As far as telescopes go, SOFIA is pretty strange. The observatory is based on a modified airplane, a Boeing 747SP. But unlike the planes we crowd on, this one has a single passenger a 2.7-meter reflecting telescope. SOFIA flies for 10 hours at a time before landing so a ground-based crew can maintain its instruments.


taps intensifies

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Can we just get a moment of silence, please?


This is so sad. What a great airplane it was. I hope they have some sort of ceremony or something instead of just flying it to Roswell and letting it die.


That’s actually a lot later than I thought.


bUt I mAdE tHaT jOkE fIrSt :(((

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BuT yOu StOle iT rIghT oFf mY KeYboArD ⌨️

I mean, as long as we pointing fingers ☝️

Jk, lol. Back on topic now 🙂

O7 Sofia you will be missed.

😭this plane will he missed RIP😭

This would be a big shame. I hope there’s a chance of this great project being safer at its both amazing and important for science. Probably the EASA could take over or something, we’ll see!

Thanks for the information though!

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image F

Sad to see it go. SOFIA will be remembered as one of the most unusual, but iconic 747’s to fly — and an important plane in the field of science. It will be missed by scientists and avgeeks.

@anon38496261 and @Mattheus, play taps again please.


Here you go


Thanks, @anon38496261. And thanks, @Mattheus.

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Hey USA, maybe just maybe you could decrease military expenses by 0.001% for the sake of reaserch?
No? Okay…

That awkward moment when you fail to realize we increased research by 12% from last year… #AwkNotReadingThePostAndTryingMakeAnArgument

We are not talking about the same amount
12% sounds like a lot compared to 0.001% but when you look at the total amount it’s from, the 0.001% are worth way more.


May I add, it was sarcasm and hyperbolic.

Since we’re comparing two different things 12% increase of funds is much better then the 12% they didn’t have. Still trying use another organization base for an argument doesn’t back your statement
#AwkwardMomentAgain. If you like discuss politics or anything else not involving SOFIA don’t hesitate to message me.

I’m sorry if I attacked any political belief of yours but my statement is true for every country in the world. Research budget dropped worldwide in the last 50 or so years and we can’t say the same about military.

Now I don’t know which part of what I said offended you or make you think I wanted to start some sort of argument.

Hope that backs my statement.

Again, we’re comparing apple to oranges and again if you’re interested in discussing about this again please don’t hesitate to message me so we can discuss this. If you don’t want to all good let’s keep this on topic involving the possible retirement of SOFIA.

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