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January 4, 2013
A NASA F/A-18 mission support aircraft flies close beside NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy 747SP during a high-altitude test flight in preparation for Early Science missions. The second series of flight envelope-expansion flight tests checked out operation of the SOFIA’s telescope cavity doors and mission systems at increasingly higher altitudes and air speeds. When flight tests are completed, the SOFIA will be a fully capable observatory cleared for astronomical science missions at up to 45,000 feet altitude. July 13, 2010 (NASA photo / Jim Ross)

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