Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a planned space telescope for NASA’s Explorers program, designed to search for exoplanets using the transit method in an area 400 times larger than that covered by the Kepler mission.

  • It is planned for launch in April 2018.
  • The primary mission objective for TESS is to survey the brightest stars near the Earth for transiting exoplanets over a two-year period.

TESS will occupy a never-before-used orbit high above Earth. The elliptical orbit, called P/2, is exactly half of the moon’s orbital period; this means that TESS will orbit Earth every 13.7 days. Its closest point to Earth (67,000 miles or 108,000 kilometers) is about triple the distance of geosynchronous orbit, where most communications satellites operate.

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