On 80th anniversary of Lindbergh flight, astronomy craft to be dedicated to him

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WACO, Texas -- On May 21, Charles Lindbergh's grandson Erik will help NASA dedicate a special 747 astronomy aircraft to the trailblazing aviator. May 21 is the 80th anniversary of Lindbergh's historic solo New York-to-Paris flight...

The unique Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, incorporates a 98.4-inch infrared telescope mounted in a highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft. The airborne observatory is a partnership between NASA and the German Aerospace Center. Lindbergh's grandson will rededicate the aircraft, called "Clipper Lindbergh," during the event...

The SOFIA 747 was originally christened by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, widow of the famous aviator, when it began service as an airliner in 1977. T

he plane has a 16-foot-high door in the aft fuselage that will open, allowing the 45,000-pound telescope to capture astronomical data in the infrared spectrum at altitudes that could exceed 40,000 feet. By flying above 90 percent of the Earth's atmospheric water vapor, SOFIA will significantly exceed the capabilities of infrared observatories on Earth.

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