A science teacher at Bert Lynn Middle School in Torrance took his teaching to great heights recently.

Kevin Tambara had the chance of a lifetime as he took a break from the classroom and flew alongside some top scientists in a Boeing 747 that is part of NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy program, known as SOFIA.

The plane only flies at night and can travel to almost any point on the Earth’s surface. It has rare high-tech equipment like a 2.5 meter reflector telescope that can observe planetary atmospheres.

During his trip, Tambara blogged about his experience. He says the highest point of his flight was 45,000 feet altitude with an outside temperature of -50 degrees centigrade.

The SOFIA 747 has the ability to go above the water vapor in the Earth’s atmosphere. The science team on board even had the chance to study galaxies millions of light-years away.

Tambara made sure to make time for his students, giving them the chance to fly through the stratosphere with him via Skype.

Tambara was able to be part of this trip because of the SOFIA airborne astronomy ambassadors program that helps improve teaching and inform the community.