SpaceX Elon Musk successfully put into orbit the telescope NASA TESS, designed to search for inhabited exoplanets. The first stage of the Falcon 9 missile landed without a problem on the floating platform Of Course I Still Love You. The company conducted a live broadcast of the launch on YouTube.
Returning to the ground level Falcon 9 is used during the next delivery of cargo to the ISS in June 2018. This is one of the last flights of the current generation of missiles. Already at the end of April SpaceX will start using Falcon 9 of the fifth generation, which will be better suited for repeated launches.
Within half an hour after the launch, the TESS device entered the planned trajectory. The telescope will be used to search for new exoplanets, the device is adapted for this better than all existing platforms.
Telescope TESS works on the same principle as Kepler: it scans the starry sky in search of a short-term decrease in the brightness of the stars due to the fact that the planet passes before them.
Researcher Steven Rinehart (Steven Rinehart), who works in the TESS project, said that with the launch of the telescope “begins a new era of explorations of exoplanets.” The device will mainly study near and bright stars, which are up to 300 light-years from the Earth. Many of them are visible on the starry sky with the unaided eye.