News of the WeekAstronomy

Long-Delayed Airborne Observatory Takes First Flight, Sees First Light

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  04 Jun 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5983, pp. 1216-1217
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5983.1216-a

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text


It was 13 years in the making: a jetliner with a 2.5-meter telescope looking out into space through an opening on the rear left side of the aircraft. Four years ago, with NASA poised to yank funding, it looked as if this airborne observatory would be grounded forever. But last week, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy glided off the runway of the Palmdale Airport in California for its first observational flight, drawing cheers from scientists who expect it to open a new window on the nearby universe.