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Hometown: Atlanta
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Member since: Sat Jun 1, 2013, 01:19 AM
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TESS prepares for launch on a mission to search for near-Earth exoplanets

Source: NASA Space Flight

NASA and SpaceX are in final preparations for the launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS. The planet-hunting observatory will be launched by a brand new Block 4 Falcon 9 rocket from SLC-40 into an orbital resonance with the moon that will allow it to perform a near all-sky survey to find and categorize the number and types of exoplanets within 300 light years of Earth. Liftoff is targeted for a 30 second window that opens at 18:32:07 EDT (22:32:07 UTC) on Monday, 16 April.

TESS background/overview:

The original idea for TESS goes back to 2005 when Dr. George Ricker was the Principle Investigator High Energy Transient Explorer (HETE) – the first satellite mission dedicated to the study of gamma-ray bursts. Slowly, the idea evolved in 2008 and 2009, with Dr. Ricker, now TESS’s Principal Investigator at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), saying “We wanted to initially try to do this as a privately funded system, and MIT was very helpful for us. We had support from Google for some of the studies that were originally going to be done.”

That led to a collaboration with NASA Ames to create a proposal for a small-class explorer exoplanet mission that was ultimately not selected for flight. That then led to a partnership with Orbital ATK and the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for a revised mission proposal over 2011 and 2012.

Read more: https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/04/tess-launc

This is going to be awesome. I cannot wait for this satellite to start producing real science.
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