Pakistani Female Engineer Shines on NASA’s Airborne Telescope SOFIA: NASA’s airborne telescope, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, has a leadership team that includes five accomplished women making waves in space science and engineering.
Each brings different backgrounds and perspectives to the task of making this complex international science experiment a success.
The observatory, which is a Boeing 747SP jetliner modified to carry a 106-inch diameter telescope, looks out at the universe in a special kind of light called infrared, which is invisible to human eyes. SOFIA can look at distant objects in a part of the infrared spectrum that is inaccessible to any other telescope currently in flight, seeking answers to mysteries about how stars form, the black hole at the center of our galaxy, and more.
SOFIA’s leadership team includes: Hina Kazmi, project manager based at NASA Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley; Pat Knezek, program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington; Margaret Meixner, director of SOFIA Science Mission Operations at Universities Space Research Association; Alessandra Roy, science manager at the German Aerospace Center in Bonn, Germany, and Naseem Rangwala, project scientist at NASA Ames.
Kazmi, Knezek, Meixner, Roy and Rangwala were asked to reflect on their careers and what excites them about SOFIA.