NASA's SOFIA Flying Telescope May Be Mothballed This Year

Reply Wed 5 Mar, 2014 10:41 am
NASA's SOFIA Flying Telescope May Be Mothballed This Year

A flying astronomical observatory will be grounded later this year unless outside funding can be found for the project, NASA officials announced Tuesday (March 4).

The White House's 2015 federal budget request, which was released Tuesday, slashes funding for the space agency's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a modified Boeing 747 aircraft that scans the heavens using an 8.2-foot-wide (2.5 meters) telescope.
NASA already partners with one international organization on the SOFIA mission— the German Aerospace Center, whose German acronym is DLR. NASA chief Charles Bolden has talked to his DLR counterpart about the situation, Worden said.

"They are concerned," Worden said of DLR officials. "They've agreed to work with us to see if there's a way forward."
The 2015 budget request sets aside $9 million for SOFIA, Worden said. It's unclear if that will be enough to develop a "mothball plan," which NASA and the DLR aim to draw up over the coming months, figuring out such details as where to store the aircraft and how much it will cost to do so.

Even if SOFIA does get mothballed, it may take to the skies again someday. The plan would be to store the aircraft with the hope of flying it again once additional funding can be procured, Worden said.
... ... ...

The reaction in Germany really is ... well, everyone is surprised, caught on the wrong foot.

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Lustig Andrei
Reply Wed 5 Mar, 2014 09:53 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
I don't think most people in Europe realize just how severe the budget woes in the USA are right now. Programs are being cut right and left.
Reply Wed 5 Mar, 2014 09:58 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
I would love to be able to vote funding for this and a lot of other things we need.
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Reply Sat 8 Mar, 2014 02:49 pm
Apparently, science and the development of space travel are relatively unimportant, at least according to the people presently in charge.
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Reply Mon 10 Mar, 2014 11:43 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:
The reaction in Germany really is ... well, everyone is surprised, caught on the wrong foot.

You guys can lobby Congress to change the funding. Congress has final say on the budget, not the White House. I would guess that the odds of success are reasonable enough that it would at least be worth the attempt.
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Reply Mon 10 Mar, 2014 11:50 pm

Slash social programs to save cash for it.

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