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NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

Seeing Stars

4 Aug 2011, 21:52 UTC
Seeing Stars
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

By Jill PestanaNASA Dryden Student InternWe were screeching down the runway, engines blasting, accelerating until the shuddering giant leapt off the ground into flight. SOFIA was in the air. The thought of flying on board an airplane that has a hole in its side and carries a 17-ton telescope was a little disconcerting, but after several weeks on the SOFIA project as an intern, learning all about the effort it took to make the aircraft operational, I trusted that we would return to Palmdale safely. Image right: Cal State-Long Beach student intern Jill Pestana has a big thumbs-up for her experience on a night flight aboard NASA’s airborne observatory, the SOFIA.
Within the first few minutes of the flight, fellow intern Stephanie Sodergren and I were giggling with excitement from our seats in what used to be the modified 747’s first-class cabin. We quickly hung a picture of the predicted flight pattern, planning to highlight the path as we traveled overnight. We got out our NASA “meatball” tattoos and stuck them to our biceps. “It’s only been thirty minutes and we’ve done so much! We still have nine and a half more hours of flight to go!” It was a ...

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