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NASA Selects SpaceX to Launch Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

By | December 17, 2014
      Artist's rendition of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite]

      Artist’s rendition of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. Photo: NASA

      [Via Satellite 12-17-2014] NASA has selected SpaceX to provide launch services for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. TESS will launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, with liftoff targeted for August 2017 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station 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’ science goal is to detect transiting exoplanets orbiting nearby bright stars. During a three-year funded science mission, TESS will sample hundreds of thousands of stars in order to detect a large sample of exoplanets, with an emphasis on discovering Earth- and super-Earth-sized planets in the solar neighborhood. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) leads the TESS mission, with oversight from the Explorers Program at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.