You can track our flights in real time with NASA’s Airborne Science Asset Tracker by clicking the following link:

SOFIA Flight Tracker

And it begins! On our way to L.A. To meet our group!

After a busy day of sight seeing around Los Angeles, including an awesome stop to see Space Shuttle Endeavour and the La Brea Tar Pits, we are in Palmdale! Off to a great beginning:


Went through egress training on SOFIA and got a picture with Nichelle Nichols:



What an unbelievably great day! Talked some with Eddie Zavala, the SOFIA program director, THE head guy, and he is from El Paso! He definitely will come visit our school when he is in the area.

Getting a little rest before we go to dinner with the program staff and scientists.

Today we are on crew rest as we prepare to stay up all night tonight flying on SOFIA.  So I won’t be doing much until later this afternoon when we go in for the flight briefing.

Listen to Nichelle Nichols with the following link:

Nichelle Nichols talking after egress training

On our way to SOFIA for flight briefing, boarding, and then LAUNCH for our first night of observing!

We just landed after a SPECTACULAR night. Can’t wait to share, but now it’s bed time!

Already way too much to even begin to share with you! But let me tell you this one thing – THERE IS HOPE! And you can choose to believe in HOPE!

We are off for tours of the instrument lab and the mirror resurfacing facilities. I’ll post more later.

Rest day today to prepare for our flight tonight. It’s been an awesome week so far, so much to digest and share, along with meeting ang getting to know amazing people! 

Getting ready to head out for our second flight. Take off is in a few hours and we will again head north into Canada. We saw a spectacular aurora Tuesday night and hope to see more tonight. Here is a picture from my fellow ambassador, Jo Dodds, of the Tuesday lights from our view at 43,000 feet.


Getting ready to go back home today. Looking forward to being back with my family, friends, students and colleagues, but at the same time a little emotional having to say goodbye to this wonderfully amazing group of people. I simply do not have the words to express all that this week was. My life today is profoundly different from what it was one short week ago. The lives of my students will be forever altered as well. There are way too many people to name and too many pictures to share in this short post, so I’ll just simply say THANK YOU TEAM SOFIA! WOW! I am blessed beyond measure and deeply honored to have you in my life! THANK YOU!

Stay tuned for much more to come!

40 thoughts on “FLIGHT WEEK!

  1. I have a couple of high school students who would like to receive your emails.

    Emillio Armijo dallastx8819@gmail.com

    Rohan Angadi rsamesa@gmail.com

    We are really excited for you!


    Christy Houston TSVI, COMS Student Support Center Clovis Municipal Schools 575-769-4490, ext. 3403

    On Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 7:52 AM, countdownwithmrk wrote:

    > Mr. K posted: “”


  2. Who are the people in the ninth picture from the bottom?
    When you look through the infra-red telescope, can you take pictures of what you see and post them on the blog?
    Can you tell us the names of the people standing in the big group pictures?


    1. Katie, those people are SOFIA staff giving us our egress training. That training showed us what to do and how to get off the aircraft in the event of an emergency. In the group picture I am with the other educators who are here this week along with Nichelle Nichols. We will not see directly through the telescope. All of the data comes through computers that the scientists use so we will not be able to get any pictures.


    1. Hello Andres! We haven’t seen anything through the telescope yet. Our first flight is tonight, so that’s when we will get our first look at how it works. Mostly though it will be on the scientists computer screens. The telescope is large so it can gather light from many thousands and millions of light years away. I believe that on tonight’s flight there will be around 74 people on board, including folks from a national television program there to document Nichelle Nichols being with us. Thursday’s flight will have about 50 people.


  3. I have a couple of questions. Who takes you for the flight, like who flew the plane? Also, do you get to go the moon? (Just joking :)) How do they look through it? Can you take a screenshot of what you are looking at through the telescope?


    1. Hi Lawrence! We met the pilot last night at dinner, his name is Manny and he is one of the best in the world! He has to be to be able to fly for NASA! And he’s a great guy too! He and his family train guide dogs for the blind! The telescope data comes through computers that the scientists use. Tonight is our first flight and I’ll get as many pictures as I can.


  4. Well well well. Jeff Killebrew Day… I’m starting to question this… Am I going insane or did I really hear that? Just kidding. I hope you have lots of fun. I will be asking about what you saw a lot because that’s totally amazing! BTW, how were them donuts, huh? You gonna bring me one?!


    1. Amerissa, it’s been fun so far, but very busy learning and going through training. We only drove by the donut shop for a quick picture. We are meeting some amazing people here who greatly value education. At dinner last night I talked with a Ph.D. physicist and the director of the entire SOFIA program (who happens to be from El Paso). We talked about you guys a lot and they are very impressed with how hard you have to work for your education.


    1. Hi Lavon! We are eating regular, normal food. We’re going to be flying in the stratosphere so nothing is out of the ordinary. We will bring sandwiches along with us on tonight’s flight. We did not stop at Randy’s Donuts, just drove by to take a quick picture.


    1. Favian, we observe on the flights and we have two of them this week, tonight and then again on Thursday night. The rest of the time is for training and tours. We did rest this morning in preparation for being up all night tonight though.


  5. What time are you going to fly? Where are you going to land? Are you going to write a book on what you saw? Hope you are having fun. I will not wiggle while you’re gone.


    1. Hi Shawn! I’m proud of you, keep making good choices for yourself! You can do it! We are leaving soon! The flight will launch early this evening. Can’t wait to tell you all about it.


  6. Hello Mr. K! What time are you going to go on the flight tonight? Are you going to pass by the donut shop again? Are you having lots of fun there? Well I hope that you are. Amerissa has been calling me Flee a lot. If you do just happen to pass by the donut shop again, Will you please bring us one? Well nice talking to you! Have a great Mr. K day!


  7. Mr. K

    Can you please bring me back a donut? Chocolate with chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles!!
    Are you going to take pictures while you’re up in the air to show us ?? Good luck! I can’t wait to hear about it!!



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