Shutdown grounds NASA’s airborne observatory

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SEATTLE ‘ The ongoing partial government shutdown has grounded a NASA aircraft used for astronomical observations amid reviews about how to operate that program in the future.

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a Boeing 747 with a 2.5-meter telescope mounted in its fuselage, has been unable able to perform any science flights since the shutdown started Dec. 22, project officials said during a town hall session about the program Jan. 8 during the 233rd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) here.

‘We know we’ve lost flight opportunities in Cycle 6, and I apologize to the [principal investigators] who are going to suffer because of this,’ said Harold Yorke, director of SOFIA science mission operations at the Universities Space Research Association, at the meeting, referring to the ongoing program of observations that SOFIA was carrying out.

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  • Publisher: SpaceNews.com
  • Date: 2019-01-09T09:44:57-05:00
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Hundreds of scientists are forced to pull out of the ‘Super Bowl of Astronomy’ due to government shutdown – meaning NASA’s new telescope

Hundreds of scientists have pulled out of attending the”Super Bowl of Astronomy’ due to the government shutdown’which has affected 95 per cent of NASA‘s staff.’

Nearly 3,200 astronomers, astrophysicists and other scientists were scheduled to attend the 233rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), which kicked off yesterday and runs through to Thursday at the Washington State Convention Center.’

Shutdown keeps US experts away from scientific conferences

This week, the American Astronomical Society is meeting in Seattle, but no one from NASA is attending. In Phoenix, thousands of meteorologists are presenting research on climate change and extreme weather, but hundreds of representatives from the National Weather Service and other US agencies canceled at the 11th hour.

The US government shutdown, now well into its third week, may be focused on a budget dispute between President Donald Trump and Congress over border security, but it is having a ripple effect on the scientific community.

Hundreds of federal scientists miss conferences in government shutdown

This undated photo provided by NASA shows SOFIA over the snow-covered Sierra Nevada mountains with its telescope door open during a test flight.

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The world’s largest airborne observatory was supposed to be parked in Seattle this week so thousands of scientists attending the ‘Super Bowl of Astronomy’ could behold a marvel: a Boeing 747 outfitted with a massive telescope used to study the fundamental mysteries of the universe.

But conference-goers will not be able to see NASA’s space-exploring plane. Its visit to the 233rd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society was canceled, one of a growing list of scientific casualties of the partial government shutdown now stretching into its third week.

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