Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Alfred Krabbe

Barbara Klett

Dr.-Ing. Thomas Keilig

Deputy SMO Director (Kalifornien)
Dr. rer. nat Bernhard Schulz

Standortleiter AFRC & SOFIA Teleskop Manager
Dipl.-Ing. Michael Hütwohl

Standortleiter ARC & und Facility Scientist
Dr. rer. nat. Jürgen Wolf

Technology Advisor
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Wagner

Bildungs- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Dr. rer. nat. Dörte Mehlert

Deutsches SOFIA Institut
Pfaffenwaldring 29
70569 Stuttgart

Tel. +49 (0)711/685-62379
Fax +49 (0)711/685-63596

SOFIA Thesis Enabling Program

DLR - with the support of DSI - is inviting German Astronomy students and student teams to submit proposals related to their university course and final thesis. The goal is to allow students “hands-on-observations” of their own proposal on-board SOFIA at 45.000ft. Therefore NASA and DLR have reserved a timeslot for student proposals within the upcoming observation Cycle6. This cycle is tentatively scheduled to take place from February 2018 through February 2019. Proposals are required to be a key part of Master or PhD theses. The subject of the scientific investigation must require the unique capabilities of SOFIA.


Students who are interested in participating in this new opportunity, including financial support from DLR & DSI, have to follow the general procedures below:

The following proposal document has to be uploaded via the USPOT Portal downloaded above. It has to indicate your scientific intent and is the core document of your application:

Please carefully follow the instructions given in 2.2.1 and 2.2.2 of the Call for Proposals.

This new and unique student proposal category also requires some additional forms. The documents listed below have to be filled by students who want to benefit from the “Student reserved timeslot” and “financial support”. Please fill and send them directly to SOFIA[at]DLR.de:

The following Medical Form has to be sent directly to the medical doctor stated inside the document:

All student proposals will be carefully evaluated by the German TAC (Time Allocation Committee) in September 2017. In case they are deemed appropriate, the TAC will provide feedback to the students and may request certain improvements. These adoptions have to be implemented until October 31st 2017 and re-submitted to SOFIA[at]DLR.de. The final selection will be done in November 2017 by the TAC chairman, together with DLR and DSI representatives.  

Selection criteria of the proposals are the scientific relevance of SOFIA´s unique capabilities, the quality of the proposal, the required observation time and the educational return (number of students involved and the relevance of the proposal for Master or PhD graduation theses). It is suggested to not request more than approximately 2 hours of observation time for Master Theses and 5 hours for PhD Students. Bachelor Students in their final semester are eligible to apply too if they can show confirmation of enrolment in a relevant Master course at a German Institute.

The selection process is subject to adaptation depending on the number of student applications received. The final date of the observation flight(s) highly depends on all German and US accepted proposals for Cycle6 and how they match best into the common Flight Plan for Cycle6.

A senior SOFIA-user will be mentoring and assisting the selected student(s) in order to ensure optimal return for their investigations. DLR & DSI will provide financial support to cover the travel and accommodation costs of up to €2500,- per student plus up to two times €500,- for presenting the successfully completed thesis / publication at a conference after the successful flight.

Interested teams should carefully read through the CfP document plus the required documents listed above prior to submitting their proposal.