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A Deeper Look at TESS

17 Apr 2018, 14:18 UTC
A Deeper Look at TESS
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The launch of TESS aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 looks to be on track for Wednesday after yesterday’s delay, which the company attributed to the need for “additional GNC [guidance, navigation and control] analysis.” So we wait just a bit more, knowing that the payoff justifies the caution. We should be identifying planets in the thousands, and around bright, nearby stars.

Standing down today to conduct additional GNC analysis, and teams are now working towards a targeted launch of @NASA_TESS on Wednesday, April 18.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 16, 2018

Principal investigator George Ricker and team have been through the process of designing, building and launching a mission before. It was in 2000 that NASA launched the MIT-built High Energy Transient Explorer 2, or HETE-2, that studied gamma-ray bursts for seven years in Earth orbit. A key technology for HETE-2 was the CCD — charge-coupled device — which allowed the satellite’s optical and X-ray cameras to record bursts in electronic format.
“With the advent of CCDs in the 1970s, you had this fantastic device … which made a lot of things easier for astronomers,” says HETE-2 team member Joel Villasenor, who is now also instrument scientist for TESS. “You just ...

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