Erick Young, a University of Arizona astronomer, will take his research to new heights in a Boeing 747SP.
It is a highly modified aircraft equipped with a 2.5-meter (98-inch) diameter infrared telescope.
“We’ll be observing star formation regions in our galaxy, studies of the gas and dust between stars,” Young said. “We’ll be observing external galaxies and planets in our own solar system.”
Young was named mission operations director of NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy.
SOFIA is set to begin operations by the end of this year or early next year.
SOFIA is expected to be fully functioning by 2014.