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NASA program provides an unforgettable experience 

NASA program provides an unforgettable experience 

Science educator Diane Ripollone recently traveled to Palmdale, California, for a STEM immersion experience as part of the NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassador program. 

During the trip, Ripollone joined the final Ambassador flight of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), reaching 44,000 feet into the atmosphere. 

“The trip was a chance of a lifetime; I was honored to be on board with other teachers across the country,” Ripollone said. “Words can’t express what I experienced flying aboard SOFIA. I’m amazed at what we saw and all the science we did while on board.” 

SOFIA, a Boeing 747SP aircraft modified to carry a 2.7-mter reflecting telescope, allows researchers to observe from both of Earth’s hemispheres and enables studies of transient events that often take place over oceans where there are no telescopes.