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TESS MISSION, ASI Broglio Space Center on the front line

ASI’s Broglio Space Centre located in Malindi (Kenya), was involved in the launch of NASA’s new exoplanets finder TESS, opening a new era for the base

SpaceX successfully launched NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) on Wednesday, April 19th at 00:51 a.m. CET, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. TESS, led out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, follows Kepler mission as NASA’s next planet finder, a payload that will discover new potential planets orbiting bright host stars relatively close to Earth. The satellite is an Explorer-class planet finder and will identify and catalog thousands of exoplanets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, orbiting a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances. TESS will monitor the brightness of more than 200,000 stars during a two year mission, searching for dips in the brightness of stars that indicate an orbiting planet regularly transiting across the face of its star.


The launch was successfully supported from the ASI Broglio Space Centre in Malindi, following for the first time the Falcon 9’s flight and accompanying the satellite into orbit.

“Support to the TESS launch will be the first in a series of collaborations with SpaceX over the next two years – said Luca Salotti, director of the Centre – we aim to make Malindi the pivotal antipodal station for SpaceX’s orbit insertion and satellites LEOP”.


Because of its equatorial location on the Indian Ocean's coast, the Centre it is the ideal place for activities of satellite control from earth (ground satellite monitoring) and it’s an excellence hub of Italian aerospace technology and an instrument for the scientific and technological dialogue with Africa.


Roberto Battiston, Italian Space Agency’s president, declared: “This is a clear demonstration of the importance of the ASI S. Marco base in Malindi, Kenya, in supporting  launch services from North and South America. In the context of a growing Space Economy, I expect that the role of the Malindi base will steadily increase with time”.