The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, TESS, is NASA’s latest mission to find life on other planets. It succeeds the Kepler Space Telescope and launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The mission aims to discover thousands of exoplanets, planets outside of our solar system that orbits a star, of all sizes.
NASA, Boeing and SpaceX
SpaceX and Boeing are contractors hired by NASA. The original plans were for SpaceX and Boeing to help NASA with two commercial space efforts. One is for Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) and the other is the Commercial Crew Programme (CCP). Since the Space Shuttle Programme was finished in 2011, NASA hasn’t been able to send astronauts to space using their own technology. Instead, they purchase seats aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, built by company RKK Energia.
So why has NASA partnered with SpaceX and Boeing?
In a bid to bring these operations back to the US, NASA partnered with the two American giants; who have been funded to provide a cheaper alternative. Originally intended to start in 2016, both companies had faced delays to its spacecraft, with flights now pushed back until 2019.
Here is the price comparison of costs between using Boeing and SpaceX, and NASA building their own spacecraft:


CRS Missions
$272,000/kg of cargo
$89,000/kg of cargo (67.3% saving)

CCP Missions
$1,677 million
$654 million (61% saving)
$405 million (76% saving)


TESS sat ontop a SpaceX Falcon 9 at Cape Canaveral, FL, Spaceflight101

NASA’s new Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched on April 18th aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. TESS was developed by MIT with its ultimate goal being to provide a new catalogue of planets.Click To Tweet
NASA’s new Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched on April 18th, 2018 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, USA. TESS was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with its ultimate

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