The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft will be displayed at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona, after completing a final flight from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California. Photo by Jim Rose Courtesy of NASA
Dec. 8 (UPI) -- NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft will be displayed at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Ariz.
SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747SP designed to carry a reflecting telescope to observe infrared light from the moon, stars and galaxies. The aircraft ended operations on Sept. 29.
"To determine a new home for the plane after the end of the mission, NASA followed regulations for the disposition of excess government equipment. Pima, one of the world's largest aerospace museums, is developing plans for when and how the SOFIA aircraft will eventually be on display to the public," read a press release from NASA on Thursday.
"The SOFIA mission has a powerful potential to inspire, from its discoveries about the unknown in our universe, to the engineering achievements that broke new ground, to the international cooperation that made it all possible," said Paul Hertz, senior adviser for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington.
The Pima Air & Space Museum, which opened in 1976, is known for its aircraft collection, and is one of the largest non-government funded aerospace museums in the world.
"Along with six hangars, 80 acres of outdoor display grounds, and more than 425 aircraft from around the world, Pima also has its own restoration facility where incoming aircraft like SOFIA are prepared for museum immortalization after their arrival," read the press release from NASA.
The aircraft is expected to make its last flight from NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California, to Tucson, Ariz., on Dec. 13.