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1997: When United Air Lines phased the 747SP out of service, they sold N145UA to NASA. Prior to delivery, United Air Lines added NASA markings and painted a large black rectangle to represent SOFIA's telescope cavity. NASA and the German Aerospace Agency (DLR) jointly developed and operate SOFIA, thus both names are shown on the aircraft's tail. In NASA service, the aircraft's registration was changed to N747NA. After delivery, NASA flew the aircraft to Waco, Texas, to begin the modification program. (NASA)

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