NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy aircraft (SOFIA) is being modified to include a INMARSAT communications, according to contract documents released Friday through the Federal Business Opportunities website. Because of the nature of current aircraft modifications, NASA has chosen to install a custom AIRLINK conformal antenna system from Ball Aerospace.
SOFIA, a Boeing 747SP jumbo jet, carries a 2.5-meter (100 inch) diameter reflecting telescope that provides astronomers with access to the visible, infrared and sub-millimeter spectrum, with optimized performance in the mid-infrared to sub-millimeter range.
The current window of opportunity for the physical installation of the antenna system is mid-August through end-of-September, NASA said in contract documents. All engineering design, equipment purchasing and delivery will have to be accomplished prior to this window of opportunity. All work will take place at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif.
Schedule / Milestones
The list below consists of the initial milestones identified for the Ball Aerospace AIRLINK High Gain Antenna System (HGAS) project:
- Period of Performance begins - March 25, 2013
- Kickoff Meeting - March 25 – 29, 2013
- Design Meeting - April 25, 2013
- Preliminary Design Review - April 29 2013
- Approval for HGAS purchase - April 30, 2013
- Critical Design Review - May 23, 2013
- Inventory Equipment - Aug. 12, 2013
- Installation (SOFIA schedule driven) - Aug. / Sep. 2013
- Ground Test / Certification (follows installation) Aug. / Sep. 2013
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