Poste du directeur de mission, à bord du Boeing 747 SOFIA

Mission director’s station aboard a Boeing 747 SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy). SOFIA is equipped with a telescope whose mirror measures 2.5 m in diameter. This NASA flying observatory, based in Palmdale California, flies by night at high altitude (up to approximately 14 km) to observe the stars in infrared from the stratosphere. During this mission in February 2017, SOFIA enabled observation of the Orion Nebula, the region nearest to the solar system in which massive stars form. The mission director’s role is to centralise data: star pointing, flight plan and safety on board. He makes decisions in the event of unforeseen occurrences, such as the closing of the telescope door when high-altitude clouds are detected. A map of Orion will thus be produced to characterise the dynamics of gases from observations of carbon ion emissions, very abundant in regions of star formation.

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