The NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission is currently scheduled for launch on-board a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) no later than 2018. After launch, TESS will complete 3.5 highly eccentric phasing loops before executing a lunar flyby, and capturing into an earth orbit with a 2:1 resonance with the moon (~13.7 day orbit period). Applied Defense Solutions (ADS) has worked on the TESS mission with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) since the initial concept study report in 2012, and continues to support both mission design analysis and flight dynamics ground system development on our way to operations.
Support of the TESS mission builds on the heritage of ADS flight dynamics expertise for innovative orbit/mission design and operations, stemming from lead flight dynamics roles on the NASA Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) and Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) missions.
During the concept study for TESS, ADS was sought out for unique dynamical systems analysis of the desired lunar resonant science orbit. ADS had previously published on the usefulness of such orbits for science purposes in the journal Space Weather1, and on work analyzing the IBEX 3:1 lunar resonant orbit in the Circular Restricted 3-Body Problem (CR3BP) in the Journal of Astronautical Sciences2.
The goal of the TESS mission is to use four wide field-of-view CCD cameras to monitor more than 200,000 stars over its two year mission, searching for changes in brightness caused by transiting exoplanets. More information can be found at the NASA website (http://tess.gsfc.nasa.gov/). ADS is proud to support the advancement of planetary science and the invigoration of interest in space exploration sure to result from the TESS mission.
1 McComas, D. J., et al. (2011). A new class of long-term stable lunar resonance orbits: Space weather applications and the Interstellar Boundary Explorer. Space Weather, 9, S11002, doi:10.1029/2011SW000704.
2 Dichmann, D. J., Lebois, R. L., Carrico, J.P. (2014). Dynamics of Orbits Near 3:1 Resonance in the Earth-Moon System. The Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, 60(1), 51-86, doi:10.1007/s40295-014-0009-x.