After a tumultuous 23-year, $1.1 billion development effort and two near-cancellations, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (Sofia) has a budget surplus, prompting NASA to take the unusual step of asking Congress for a budget cut. The observatory, a joint project of NASA and the German aerospace center (DLR), began science operations three years ago aboard a modified Boeing 747SP outfitted with a large door in the aft fuselage. The door is opened during flight to allow the ...


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