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Falcon 9 TESS

Part of the Explorers program, this space telescope is intended for wide-field search of exoplanets transiting nearby stars. It is the first NASA high priority science mission launched by SpaceX. It was the first time SpaceX launched a scientific satellite not primarily intended for Earth observations. The second stage placed it into a high-Earth elliptical orbit, after which the satellite’s own booster will perform complex maneuvers including a lunar flyby, and over the course of two months, reach a stable, 2:1 resonant orbit with the Moon. In January 2018, SpaceX received NASA’s Launch Services Program Category 2 certification of its Falcon 9 ‘Full Thrust’, certification which is required for launching medium risk missions like TESS. It was the last launch of a new Block 4 booster, and marked the 24th successful recovery of the booster. An experimental water landing was performed in order to attempt fairing recovery.

Launch Information

Launch Date

Wednesday 18th April 2018 at 22:51 UTC

Launch Pad

CCSFS SLC 40

Rocket

Falcon 9

Booster

B1045.1

Launch Success

Yes

Landing Attempt

Yes

Landing Success

Yes

Landing Site

Of Course I Still Love You

Payloads

Payload
Customer
Manufacturer
Mass (kg)
Mass (lbs)
Orbit
TESS

NASA

Orbital ATK

350
772
HEO

Launch Photos

All of these images are from the SpaceX Flickr page and all of them belong to SpaceX

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Falcon 9 TESS Falcon 9 TESS Falcon 9 TESS Falcon 9 TESS Falcon 9 TESS
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Launch Livestream