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New Zealand Space Calendar

Sofia Open Day



** PLEASE NOTE: To select tickets (when they go on sale) you do NOT need a promotional code **


NASA and DLR’s flying Observatory SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) is in Christchurch and is offering you one chance to tour, between 11am and 3:30pm on Saturday July 20. The last boarding time is 3:00pm.

In order to register for a ticket, you will need to provide the below information:

• Full Name as it appears on your photo ID
• Address
• NZ Drivers Licence, Kiwi Access or Passport number and expiration date.

Please note that the below restrictions for access apply: 
• SOFIA is a working science laboratory and is not accessible to people with disabilities. All guests must be ambulatory, able to walk one-quarter mile, and ascend and descend 25 stairs unaided.
• The observatory is not suitable for young children. Guests must be 10 years or older. 
• All guests, including minors (10-18 years of age), must present a ticket to board observatory (confirms their information has been checked).
• All attendees must have photo ID, other than minors who must be accompanied by a responsible adult with photo ID.
• Guests will be escorted across an active aircraft ramp and must stay together, walking as a group. 
• Guests should dress for the weather.
• All guests are subject to search. 
• No bags, no backpacks, no large purses, no large camera bags. 
• No open-toed shoes, no high heels.
• Pockets as empty as possible. If anything is dropped it must be picked up.
• No smoking of any kind. No electronic cigarettes allowed.
• This is a working observatory and guests are asked not to touch keyboards, monitors, or other mission equipment.
• Do not remove anything from the aircraft.
• Due to access restrictions we are unable to allow any wheelchairs, walkers, strollers or infants in carry harnesses.

Each ticket must be registered to a person’s name. Please enter a passport, drivers licence or Kiwi Access number for each person. This will be checked off against the ID shown on the day at registration. If the attendee is a minor then you can enter N/A into that field.

The only items you are able to bring with you are:

• Car Key 
• Photo ID 
• Camera or Phone 
• Closed toe shoes and no high heels 

On arrival please proceed to the registration tent. Here you will be given a wristband for your viewing time and a briefing card once you have shown your ticket and matching ID. You will then proceed to security screening area. All loose items will be placed in trays on trestle tables which you can collect after you have been scanned with a metal detector wand. Please ensure you arrive with enough time to complete these formalities.

Please note you will enter the left forward doors and exit the right forward door. There are many people who want to enjoy this experience, so in fairness to everyone, please adhere to the timeframes on your ticket and keep things moving through the aircraft. This is a self-guided tour and any questions can be answered inside the hangar once you are off the aircraft.



1. Where can I find more information about SOFIA?
Please refer to the below link for more information on SOFIA.

2. Where do I park? 
Car parking is available in the Christchurch Airport Long Stay car park (this is the closest area to the tarmac entrance). You will be able to pre purchase a 2-hour parking ticket for $5. A ticket code will be sent to you once you have secured your ticket to view SOFIA. Once parked please leave all bags and all non-essential items in the car and exit via a gate on Orchard Road. You will not be allowed on board SOFIA with any bag or items other than those listed.

3. What type of footwear do I need? 
Closed toe shoes MUST be worn and no high heels 

4. How long will I have on SOFIA?
Each ticket allows for a 30-minute time slot. This is to allow you to uplift your wristband, complete security, proceed onto the tarmac and through SOFIA. Security requirements mean the line inside SOFIA must keep moving.

5. When do tickets go on sale? 
Tickets will be released on three different dates and times. These are allocated on a first in first served basis.
o Friday 14th June @ 10am 
o Saturday 22nd June @ 10am 
o Monday 1st July @ 8pm 

6. Can I talk to an astronaut? 
No astronauts will be on present at this event. Guests will be able to talk to NASA staff in the hangar once you’re off the aircraft. There will also be an information video and information for you to view.

7. Will I have time to take photos? 
There will be time to take photo of the aircraft on the tarmac whilst you are waiting, but limited time on board SOFIA. Security requirements mean the line inside SOFIA must keep moving. 

8. How many tickets can I select?
You can select up to 6 tickets per family. Individual names must be provided for each person. Any child who does not have ID must be attached to an adult's registration and photo ID information.

9. What if I need to cancel my ticket? 
If you are unable to attend, we request that you please cancel your ticket so that it may be given to someone else. It is easy to cancel your registration from your Eventbrite account. Just log in to Eventbrite, go to the Tickets page, and locate your order. Click your order to view order details, and then select "Cancel Order" to cancel your registration. You will be sent an email confirming the cancellation.

10. Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn't match the person who attends?
No, your registration is not transferrable. The name on the registration must match the ID of the person who attends.

11. What are my transport/parking options for getting to and from the event?
Please refer to below link for bus schedules, a number of bus routes will take you directly to the airport.

If you wish to bike, there are bike rakes (unsecured) located outside the International Arrivals Hall (next to Door 9)

12. I have medication that I need to keep on me, can I bring this in a bag?
If you need to bring a small medical device or medication such as an inhaler, we recommend that you place it in a clear plastic bag. This bag may be subject to search.