NASA’s Kepler planet hunter is retired after running out of fuel

by | Oct 31, 2018 | NASA, Satellites, Science, Seradata News

NASA have announced that after nine years in-orbit the Kepler space telescope has ceased its planet hunting mission on 30 October. Kepler has been in a low-fuel state for months however, it entered a “no-fuel-use” safe mode on 19 October, following a significant drop in fuel pressure recorded by controllers during a September communication with the spacecraft.

Artists impression of the Kepler planet hunter. Courtesy of NASA


The Kepler mission was launched in March 2009, as the first NASA planet hunting mission and 10th Discovery-class mission. During its tenure in-orbit, Kepler has been responsible for the identification of 2,681 exoplanets, with 2,899 further exoplanet candidates awaiting approval.

TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) the “heir” to Kepler is a NASA Explorer-class mission launched in April 2018, however, unlike the “narrow” field-of-view of Kepler, TESS provides a “whole-sky” survey.


About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles

Atlas V launches Starliner OFT-2 test flight to ISS but spacecraft has a shaky orbital insertion (Updated)

NASA successfully launched an Atlas V N22 rocket, carrying Starliner OFT-2, from Cape Canaveral, USA, at 2254 GMT on 19 Read more

SpaceX launches Axiom AX-1 first all-commercial crew to ISS which returns to Earth late (Updated)

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 with the first privately crewed mission to the ISS from the Kennedy Space Centre, USA, Read more

Dragon CRS-24 launch by SpaceX Falcon 9 marks final supply run of 2021

On 21 December, NASA and SpaceX successfully launched the Dragon CRS-24 (Commercial Resupply Services-24) spacecraft at 1007 GMT using a Read more

Crew Dragon – NASA Crew 2 undocks from the ISS and returns to Earth…then Crew Dragon – NASA Crew 3 is launched by Falcon 9 on way to space station

On 8 November 2021 at 1905 GMT, Crew Dragon - NASA Crew 2 Endeavour autonomously undocked from the IDA-3 /PMA-3 Read more

Blue Origin completes New Shepard sub-orbital mission carrying multiple science payloads

Blue Origin conducted its New Shepard-17 (NS-17) suborbital mission carrying 18 experiments for commercial and institutional customers inside the capsule. Read more

Blue Origin sues NASA after losing contract for Human Landing System (Updated)

Blue Origin’s disagreement with NASA over its failure to win a contract for the Human Landing System (HLS) finally reached Read more

Cygnus heads for ISS while Starliner remains grounded

Northrop Grumman launched a Cygnus resupply spacecraft on one of its Antares launch vehicles from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Read more

Hubble returns to operations but is on borrowed time

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is back online after a month of downtime due to a malfunctioning payload computer. The Read more