NASA’s TESS mission jumps ship from Pegasus XL to Falcon 9

by | Dec 19, 2014 | NASA, SpaceX | 0 comments

NASA’s TESS – Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite mission has apparently been moved from its originally planned Orbital Sciences Corp Pegasus XL air dropped launch vehicle to a Falcon 9v1.1 launch supplied by SpaceX.  That launch was apparently supplied as part of the construction contract with Orbital Sciences Corp.   The new Falcon 9 launch is planned for August 2017 and will take place from Cape Canaveral in Florida.  The total cost for NASA to launch TESS is approximately $87 million, which includes the launch service, spacecraft processing, payload integration, tracking, data and telemetry, and other launch support requirements.

TESS will carry for wide-angle telescopes and use wide-field cameras to watch for attenuation in stellar brightness which can indicate the presence of a planet.  Dips in brightness can happen when a planet transits the disk of a star.

Comment by David Todd:  The cause of this change is not disclosed. NASA still has confidence in the rarely flown Pegasus XL and has selected it for the launch of its ICON mission.

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