NASA’s planet hunter TESS was transported to space by SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The liftoff of TESS was taken place on April 18th, 2018 from the launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
TESS satellite will help NASA in finding the new exoplanets that exist beyond our Solar System. The satellite will be scouting for the planets who all will have a habitable zone and can support the life. TESS principal investigator George Ricker, who is from the Massachusetts Institute of Technolgy said that “TESS is going to dramatically increase the number of planets that we have to study.”
TESS was supposed to get the launch on Monday but due to some technical glitch in the Falcon 9 rocket’s navigation and guidance system, the launch was delayed. On Wednesday the launch took place and on a 49-minute flight, the satellite was put off on the highly elliptical path around the Earth. TESS will be replacing the Kepler satellite whose fuel will be over within some months. Kepler was launched by NASA during the year 2009 and till now it has spotted 2,650 confirmed exoplanets which are about 70 percent of all the worlds that are known beyond our solar system.
According to NASA TESS will be conducting a sky survey in its two-years time, in which it will cover nearly 85 percent of the sky. The main focus of the TESS will be the nearest and brightest stars that are present near our solar system and size of this star will be near to or more than Earth-size. TESS is equipped with four highly sensitive cameras which will help in monitoring the entire sky.
The mission project scientist Stephen Rinehart of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt Maryland said that “TESS is the first step toward finding habitable planets.”