SOFIA Airborne Observatory

Shipment to the final customer of the FFI+ Qualification Model

Officina Stellare is proud to announce the shipment to the final customer of the FFI+ Qualification Model.
The FFI+ (Fine Field Imager), replacing the existing optical system used till now, will be the new generation field imager and guider installed on board of the SOFIA Airborne Observatory.
Thanks to the increased performance of the device provided by Officina Stellare to the NASA/DLR SOFIA team, an improvement of the efficiency of the SOFIA telescope will be possible.

SOFIA is the largest airborne observatory in the world, capable of making observations that are impossible for even the largest and highest ground-based telescopes. During its planned 20-year lifetime, SOFIA also will inspire the development of new scientific instrumentation and foster the education of young scientists and engineers.
SOFIA is an 80/20 partnership of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), consisting of an extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a reflecting telescope with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters (100 inches).
The observatory is based at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California. NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, manages SOFIA's science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association (USRA; Columbia, Md.) and the German SOFIA Institute (DSI; University of Stuttgart).

A really challenging design and manufacturing process is behind this Officina Stellare's major achievement.
The optical payload is based on a wide field, large bandwidth 300 mm f/2.2 custom optical design that Officina Stellare develops in its internal optical lab to meet the tight requirements provided by the customer.
One of the biggest challenge was the required high field image quality stability over an extreme 100 degrees span of operating temperature (-60 to +40 ∞C).
In addition, the optomechanical performance must be kept under a severe 10g acceleration during use.
Thanks to the use of special materials and some quite peculiar and innovative solutions, Officina Stellare accomplished the not so easy "mission".
One more result that confirms the special Officina Stellareís skill in the design and manufacturing of critical environment compatible optical systems.