Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility Dedication
April 9, 2009
NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale was dedicated on April 9, 2009.
NASA's Boeing 747SP N747NA, the Stratospheric Observatory For Infra-red Astronomy (SOFIA) is housed in the newly dedicated Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility. The 747SP will carry a 2.5 meter diameter telescope above most of the water vapor in the atmosphere to provide a clear view of space.
This 747SP-21 carries Boeing construction number 21441. It made its first flight on Apriul 25, 1977. It was delivered to Pan Am as N536PA on May 6, 1977. Pan Am named it Clipper Lindbergh. United Airlines bought it on February 13, 1986. United changed its registration to N145UA on November 1, 1986. It made its last revenue flight, and the last scheduled revenue flight of a 747SP in the United States, on October 17, 1994. It was withdrawn from use and parked at Oakland on October 18, 1994. It was ferried to Las Vegas on or before November 1, 1995. NASA bought it on January 1, 1997. It was ferried to San Francisco on February 17, 1997 and repainted with new titles identifying it as SOFIA on February 20. It entered a hangar at Waco, Texas for paint stripping and maintenance on May 1, 1999. The registration N747NA was reserved for it on December 17, 2004. It made its first flight after modification on April 26, 2007.