NASA to launch its TESS Exoplanet Mission in a SpaceX Falcon 9


While Musk has admitted he knows the plan sounds "crazy", he hasn't shed more light on the subject, only noting that a balloon would drop the stage's ballistic coefficient - the ability to overcome air resistance during flight - and preserve its shape while travelling at different speeds.

On several missions, twin boosters from a SpaceX rocket have been able to separate and land autonomously back on land.

Credit: NASA/Leif HeimboldCredit: NASA/Leif HeimboldCredit: NASA/Leif HeimboldCredit: NASA/Kim ShiflettThe Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite is prepared for encapsulation inside the Falcon 9 rocket's nose shroud. Currently, she is the only main component of the rocket that an aerospace company in Hawthorne, California, tried to re-use in their attempts reusable spacecraft. They use grid-like fins for stability during re-entry, perform engine burns to slow down and carry landing legs that fold out just before touchdown.

Musk's space company has a long history with the city.

According to a report by, NASA's current exoplanet hunting observatory named Kepler, has nearly exhausted its fuel supply, requiring NASA to put TESS into orbit to continue research.

The launch will be broadcast on NASA website or on its live YouTube stream which you will find below.

"We will not de-orbit the second stage, but we will basically kick it out", Koenigsmann said. Musk may be talking about a ballute, an inflatable parachute-like device that could look like a huge balloon. Recovery will require a new target closer to shore, within range of a catcher ship.

SpaceX is now testing a system to recover the fairings of its Falcon 9 rockets.

SpaceX's use of a giant balloon for a rocket won't be the first time a company or space agency has attempted to use an inflatable system for re-entry.

Musk has referred to the boat as a giant "catcher's mitt".