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The sad fate of the Kuiper Airborne Observatory

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posted on Sep, 7 2019 @ 04:25 PM
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The Kuiper Airborne Observatory was a airborne infrared telescope built by NASA in the 70's. It used a short frame C-141A Starlifter coupled to carry a 36 inch infrared telescope above 40000 feet to get out of water vapor that interfered with its mission. The Kuiper was replaced by the 747-SP Based SOFIA. Based at Moffett Field it has languished there for years and recently it was moved to a more observable area and it is in sad shape.

The telescope has been removed and its cavity left open to the elements, and the rest of the airframe is really rough. The telescope itself is destined for the Smithsonian, but the C-141 itself seems to be headed to the scrap heap sadly.











posted on Sep, 7 2019 @ 04:34 PM
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a reply to: FredT

I hate seeing that. It used to be one only two or three C-141As that survived the stretch and conversion to B models. It was always a neat bird to see come in.



posted on Sep, 7 2019 @ 04:59 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

So there appears to be three total left fo the A model:

One is at Dover, the other is at Edwards and the NASA which is really an L-300 and never used by the USAF.

I wonder what the differences is between the A and the L-300



posted on Sep, 7 2019 @ 05:10 PM
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a reply to: FredT

The L-300 was their attempt at commercial sales. It had a different control yoke and avionics changes. They were attempting to sell a stretched variant that was commercially certified but all their deals fell through. This one was the demonstrator.

One of the remaining A models was the MAC commander aircraft. It had a roll on/ roll of DV cabin.
edit on 9/7/2019 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 7 2019 @ 08:41 PM
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Sad. One reason the plane was retired was maintenance costs. It was not modular and just cost to much. I flew on them and loved it.




 
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