Silicon Valley Image Archive >> Silicon Valley 2011 Images >> Images of SOFIA Visit to Ames, October 15, 2011

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Waiting for SOFIA At NASA Ames

Image or picture of the waiting area for the SOFIA 747SP tour at NASA Ames

Today the SOFIAi 747SP is at NASA Ames in Silicon Valley. It is a sunny afternoon and we are waitning in line to board the aricraft. Historic Hangar One is visible in the background; some of its covering has been removed, and frame-metal is visible.

Another Waiting Area View

Image or picture the waiting area for the SOFIA 747SP tour at NASA AMES.

Another view of the waiting area to visit SOFIA, you can a better view of Hangar One.


Image or picture of the SOFIA 747SP at NASA Ames

We we are closer to our chance to board the aircraft. From here we get a nice view of the SOFIA 747SP.

Telescope/Tail Section of the Aircraft

Image or picture of 747 at NASA Ames

The two children seem quite pleased to have toured SOFIA, and pause to have their picture taken leaving. On the aircraft, just above the children, is the location of the telescope. The area has a door that is open during flight, but closed otherwise. We will not be able to see the telescope itself, but rather some of the instruments ans the onboard control center.

Time to Board

Image or picture of the SOFIA 747

We have been cleared to walk to the stairs; nice day, bright sun, sounds of the ground support equipment.

Aircraft Model

Image or picture of SOFIA Aircraft scale model

This scale model was on display, you can see the door to the telescope is OPEN close to the 747 tail, on the left side of the aircraft.

Tail Section

Image or picture of the SOFIA 747SP Tail section

This picture of the 747 tail section shows the raised telescope doorway close to the tail section.

Let's Board and Tour!

Image or picture of a SOFIA 747SP

Time to climb the stairs and board the aircraft!

Bright Sun

Image or picture of a shiny SOFIA 747

From near the entry door, the aircraft shines in the Noon-hour sunshine.


Image or picture take onboard the SOFIA 747SP

Racks of instruments in the nose section, racks, constrol and operation stations ahead, and in the distance instruments and the mechanics of the SOFIA telescope itself.The scent of operating electronics is in the air. Interesting to see a 747 with so few seats!

Instruments (and Telescope) were moving

Image or picture of SOFIA instrumentation

While we cannot see the main mirror, we can see the instruments which can include cameras, photometers and spectrographic units, all digital. The mechanical system to change the telescope's angle of elevation appears to be something like Stargate SG-1.

Telescope Operation

Image or picture of SOFIA telescope operator's station

The telescope operators work from this station on the right of the aircraft. Operators at station face rearwards, towards the telescope.

Conference Table

Image or picture of conference table on board the SOFIA aircraft

SOFIA conference table, right side of the aircraft. Notice the interior pannels of the aircraft are removed, and insulation is visible.

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