SOFIA Declared Operational

Flight Global (6/3, 2K) reports that NASA declared that the Stratospheric Observatory of Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) telescope is now operational, a milestone which comes several months after Obama Administration released its 2015 budget that “effectively” grounds the program. With the House have passed a bill that has “partial funding” for the project, its status is now “uncertain.” Meanwhile, Paul Hertz, NASA’s astrophysics division director, said that the achievement is “the equivalent of a launch for a space mission.”