Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

 

A launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is planned for April 2018. NASA is ahead of the game and has already sent the TESS to Florida to prepare for the trip. The TESS arrived on a truck to Kennedy Space center on February 12th. The TSS has been in Virginia for an entire year while being constructed and tested. Orbital ATK, located in Dulles, Virginia has been responsible for it.

The purpose of the TESS is to hunt down exoplanets for further research. It looks outside of our immediate solar system and identifies exoplanets that may be orbiting other stars. The mission is planned to last about two years, and explore 200,000 stars. The satellite identifies exoplanets by recording a decline in brightness from stars. Transits of planets cause this decline. The satellite is made to accomplish discoveries that cannot be made from land based equipment.

Strict testing inside a sterile tent gives an assessment of the condition of the satellite prior to sending it into space. A Falcon 9 rocket manufactured by SpaceX is planned for use to launch the TESS. Over 1,500 exoplanets are expected to be discovered by the TESS. It is set up to explore the characteristics of the planets it finds, as well.

This detailed technology has been developed mainly by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. George Ricker has been heading the operation at the institute. Some of the parts studied here have been the lens hoods, cameras, and detector assemblies. NASA, of course, has been involved in major parts of construction, also. Out of there Goddard Space Flight Center, the safety of the mission has been researched. Other items tested by NASA have been the Orbital (ATK) construction and overall systems engineering. The April launch is the beginning of many new discoveries.