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03/08/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/08/2018 23:01

SOFIA Return to Flight Delayed

NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, remains in Hamburg, Germany, to address a repair that was discovered during a routine inspection and repair cycle, known as a C-Check.

After completion of the inspection and maintenance by technicians at Lufthansa Tecknik AG, a fuel leak was discovered where the outer engine on the left side attaches to the wing. To return to flight operations, this must be addressed in accordance to safety requirements.

The flying observatory has been delayed since January to address a number of repairs. SOFIA is currently scheduled to depart Germany before the end of March, and will resume science flights shortly after its return to NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center's aircraft operations facility in Palmdale, California.

Impacts to the observatory's science schedule are currently being assessed and will be mitigated through contingency flight dates built into SOFIA's schedule.

SOFIA is a Boeing 747SP jetliner modified to carry a 100-inch diameter telescope. It is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center, DLR. NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley manages the SOFIA program, science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, and the German SOFIA Institute (DSI) at the University of Stuttgart. The aircraft is based at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center's Hangar 703, in Palmdale, California.

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Last Updated: March 9, 2018

Editor: Kassandra Bell