Spacecraft Sep! TESS is Flying Solo

In this view from a camera mounted on the Falcon 9 rocket's second stage, NASA's TESS spacecraft separates from the vehicle, beginning its mission.
In this view from a camera mounted on the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage, NASA’s TESS spacecraft separates from the vehicle, beginning its mission. Image credit: NASA TV

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, is flying free following an on-time liftoff and successful journey to orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The spacecraft has separated from the rocket’s second stage. Once TESS deploys its twin power-producing solar arrays, it will spend the next two months climbing to its final orbit high above Earth.