- NASA Watch
- October 19, 2022
TESS Has A Hubble Problem But NASA Will Launch It Anyway (Update)
Cameras on NASA exoplanet spacecraft slightly out of focus, Space News
“NASA confirmed July 26 that the focus of the four cameras on the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) spacecraft will drift when the spacecraft cools to operating temperatures after launch next March. The problem was noticed in recent tests when the cameras were chilled to approximately -75 degrees Celsius. “Recent tests show the cameras on TESS are slightly out of focus when placed in the cold temperatures of space where it will be operating,” NASA spokesperson Felicia Chou said in response to a SpaceNews inquiry. “After a thorough engineering evaluation, NASA has concluded TESS can fully accomplish its science mission with the cameras as they are, and will proceed with current integration activities.” … “The question is how much science degradation will there be in the results,” Boss said. “The TESS team thinks there will be a 10 percent cut in terms of the number of planets that they expect to be able to detect.”
Keith’s 27 July note: Strange that NASA will fly a flawed spacecraft that can only accomplish 90% of what it is supposed to do. Maybe NASA will explain this in a little more detail.
Keith’s 4 August update: NASA Just posted this update about TESS “NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite Passes Critical Review” This is what NASA says: “Recent measurements revealed the TESS cameras to have slightly reduced focus and image quality near the outer edge of the image when placed in the cold temperatures of space, and better camera focus and image quality towards the center of the image. The difference between the designed and measured focus and image quality will not affect the mission’s science goals.” Last week this was a 10% decrease in capability. Now its no big deal, right NASA?