SpaceX to slow upper rocket stages with "giant party balloon"

17 Abril, 2018, 10:43 | Author: Thomas Hicks
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SpaceX’s Valuation Takes Off Once Again

After the launch, SpaceX will attempt to land the first stage booster on its drone ship off the coast.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing continue to predict an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff. In fact, SpaceX will try to recover the payload fairings again today (April 16) when it launches a Falcon 9 carrying NASA's next exoplanet-hunting space telescope, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.

Its main goal over the next two years is to scan more than 200,000 of the brightest stars for signs of planets circling them and causing a dip in brightness known as a transit.

No ground-based survey can achieve this feat.

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NASA is all set to launch its next hunt for planets outside our solar system as preparations get underway for the launch of the TESS satellite, which will be carried into space in a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Tuesday morning.

NASA TV and SpaceX both will be live streaming the launch of the satellite. The MIT researchers behind the project expect to catalog thousands of new planets smaller than Neptune, and perhaps dozens comparable to Earth, which can then be studied with other instruments.

Musk did not reveal a timetable for the "giant party balloon" landing test or details on how it works, but he did say that a sturdy balloon has a good shape to withstand the stresses a rocket stage endures during its supersonic descent back to Earth.

The satellite will figure out "the most promising exoplanets orbiting relatively nearby stars", providing future researchers with an exhaustive set of new targets for more follow-up studies, including the potential to determine "their capacity to harbor life", the U.S. space agency said.

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