Falcon 9 rocket Current Affairs - 2019

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TESS: NASA launches its newest planet-hunting spacecraft on SpaceX rocket

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a new planet-hunting spacecraft onboard of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Carnival, Florida, US. TESS mission is designed to carry out first spaceborne all-sky transiting exoplanet survey.

Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

The TESS mission is led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. It is designed to find potential planets orbiting stars close to Earth. It will identify such planets by spotting decreased brightness of stars after planet passes in front of it.

The primary mission objective of TESS is to survey brightest stars near Earth for transiting exoplanets over two-year period. It will use array of wide-field cameras to perform all-sky survey. It will create catalog of thousands of exoplanet candidates using transit photometry method.

TESS observatory weighs just 362 kilograms. It has four wide-view cameras surrounded by sun shade to monitor any dips in brightness from target stars. Repeated dips will indicate a planet passing in front of its star. TESS has no instruments capable of detecting life. Its main job is to find and characterize planets that will become main targets of future telescopes.

With help of TESS, it will be possible to study mass, size, density and orbit of large cohort of small planets, including sample of rocky worlds in habitable zones (goldilocks zone) of their host stars. This will reveal whether planets are rocky (like Earth), gas or jovian giants (like Jupiter) or something even more unusual.

Month: Categories: Science & Technology


SpaceX for first time successfully launches recycled rocket and spaceship

US based private rocket launching company SpaceX for first time ever has successfully launched used Dragon spacecraft with a used Falcon 9 rocket. The 2 pre-flown rocket parts were launched together for the first time as part of resupply mission to International Space Station (ISS).

Key Facts

The mission was SpaceX’s 13th of 20 under a $1.6 billion contract with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). After the launch, SpaceX landed its rocket booster upright on solid ground at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The used Dragon spacecraft was on its way to ISS. It carried 4,800 pounds of supplies for astronauts in ISS. So far, SpaceX has managed to return 20 of its rocket boosters after launch, whether on a floating ocean platform or on land as part of its effort to re-use instead of jettison costly components.


SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) is aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in California, US.

It was founded in 2002 by Internet tycoon Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and former PayPal entrepreneur with the goal of creating the technologies to reduce space transportation costs and enable colonization of Mars.

SpaceX has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, both designed to be reusable, thus reducing the cost of lauch. It also has developed Dragon spacecraft to supply cargo to ISS. It is also developing manned version of Dragon.

In 2008, SpaceX had created history by launching first privately funded, liquid-propellant rocket Falcon 1 to reach orbit in 2008. It also became first privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit and recover spacecraft (Dragon) in 2010. It was also first private company to send a spacecraft to ISS, in 2012.

Month: Categories: Science & Technology