On Wednesday 6:51PM ET, SpaceX successfully launched the TESS spacecraft, and 50 minutes later, it deployed the probe. Following the takeoff, the company successfully landed its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship. So now, SpaceX has 24 successful landings and 13 drone ship recoveries. SpaceX decided to send a refrigerator-sized satellite into orbit on Wednesday, for NASA to hunt for other worlds far outside our Solar System. It is the first NASA spacecraft called ‘TESS’ to be launched by SpaceX that is designed to peer deep into the cosmos. NASA’s newest exoplanet hunter is ‘TESS’. The probe is functioned to stare at stars which are tens to hundreds of light-years away from Earth. If they blink, the probe can detect it. When a planet passes in front of a distant star, the stars light is dimmed by it very slightly. These twinkles will be measured by TESS from a 13.7-day orbit which is able to extend as far out as the distance of the moon.
TESS will require 60 days after launch to get to its intended orbit
In this launch, the satellite won’t reach to its final orbit. Falcon 9 will be used to put TESS into a highly elliptical path around the Earth first. Over the next couple of months, TESS will slowly adjust its orbit by igniting its onboard engine for multiple times. A flyby of the Moon will also be done by the spacecraft next month, getting a gravitational boost which will help the vehicle to get to its final path around the Earth. So, it will take around 60 days for TESS to get to its intended orbit after its launch. In June, some science observations are scheduled. For this launch, SpaceX is using a new Falcon 9 and it will take off from the company’s launchpad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. After liftoff, the company has also a plan to recover the rocket. Following the launch, the 14-story first stage of the Falcon 9 will try to land on one of the SpaceX’s drone ships in the Atlantic Ocean. Since the Falcon Heavy’s test flight in early February, it is the first landing attempted by SpaceX. According to Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of build and flight reliability at SpaceX, if the company succeeds, the company may use this vehicle to fly its next cargo mission to the International Space Station for NASA.
The company may also attempt to land the nose cone of Falcon 9 in the Atlantic Ocean. The nose cone, which is also known as the payload fairing, is the bulbous structure that covers the satellite at the top of the rocket. After getting into space, the fairing breaks apart into two halves, and both of it fall back to the Earth. Each half uses a parachute to slow down, and then a boat equipped with a giant net tries to pick one of the halves before they reach the ocean. Till now, SpaceX has not been able to catch any fairings, and it won’t be catching any fairings this time, either. Mr. Steven, the company’s netted boat, is out on the West Coast and was not able to make it out to Florida. But, the company will still attempt to land the fairing in the ocean to get more data which will help the company understand a perfect recovery technique.