Watch Again

Mighty Planes:

The World's Only Flying Observatory

Watch More
back to video

»Sofia 747SP

The World's Only Flying Observatory

Short | 02:46

It may look like a normal plane, but NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a one-of-a-kind Special Performance 747, equipped with a 17-ton telescope.

More About This episode

If you're going to take on the universe, you're going to need a Mighty Plane. Enter SOFIA, a Boeing 747 jumbo jetliner that's been converted by NASA into a space observatory in the sky. Manned with a 17-ton telescope, she gives scientists and researchers access to targets that are out of reach to observatories on Earth...that is, when she's airborne. She's currently grounded for upgrade and overhaul maintenance, and four months behind schedule. Follow the race against time to get SOFIA back to work, unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos.

Buy This Show

Now, you can watch Smithsonian Channel's incredible documentaries and shows anytime you want by purchasing from any of these distributors:

Download

Return to Video Page