Project SOFIA

Flight Display Systems Contributes to NASA Project SOFIA


A Custom 20” Monitor Gives Scientists an Accurate Image of the Cosmos

ALPHARETTA, Georgia — July 19, 2013 — Flight Display Systems contributed to the success of NASA’s flying observatory, Project SOFIA, by designing and building a custom 20” LCD monitor. The monitor was installed in the stratospheric observatory used to monitor infrared emissions from space. The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is jointly funded by NASA and the German Aerospace Center. It consists of a very large 2.5 meter diameter telescope mounted in a retrofitted Boeing 747SP. Flight Display Systems engineered a 20” monitor that flips up from the stowed position to display the infrared readings from the SOFIA telescope.

Our experience with military grade, “ruggidized” monitors enabled us devise a unique solution for NASA project SOFIA. The monitor combined a large viewing screen with a secure, yet small form factor when stowed. On top of the standard metal enclosure we included friction grip hinges to ensure the monitor does not jostle in rough air.

Solving unique video engineering problems is a core competency of Flight Display Systems. “Military and special mission projects involving a high level of technical expertise are a major part of what we do,” said Dave Oblinger, Director of Research and Development. “Our engineers love projects that involve solving technical issues such as NASA’s SOFIA.”

About Project SOFIA

Looking at stars from the Earth’s surface only reveals part of the picture. The Earth’s atmosphere, especially it’s water vapor, inhibits a clear view of the cosmos. Space telescopes eliminate this issue, but are expensive to deploy and operate. NASA’s Project SOFIA aims to deliver a cost effective, “best of both worlds,” experience for astronomers. A flying observatory gives a much better view of the stars and is much less expensive to operate than a space telescope.

Learn more about the NASA SOFIA project at:

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