NASA: all is well on Boeing 747SP open-door front

NASAreports positive results from initial open-door testing of itsStratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (Sofia), a researchplatform that includes a 19t telescope mounted on a Boeing 747SP (N747NA).

A 4.6m (15ft)-high by 4.3m-wide door on the aft left side of theaircraft that opens in flight to expose the telescope a clear view ofthe sky between 23° and 58° of elevation had been a key concern amongengineers.

The result of two decades of engineering at a cost of more than $500million in modifications, the 747 includes “ramps” and fairingsdesigned to isolate the telescope from atmospheric buffeting as theformer Pan Am and United Airlinesaircraft flies at M0.85 and 45,000ft during observations. Modificationswere made by L-3 Communications at the company’s Waco, Texas facility. Read more…

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(Photo: NASA)


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