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TESS Ground Operations

The TESS Ground System is comprised of eight different facilities located around the country. Together these facilities work as one unified team to operate the TESS mission and process the collected science data. The Mission Operations Center (MOC), located in Dulles Virginia and operated by Orbital ATK, is the heart of TESS operations. The MOC interfaces with the Deep Space Network (DSN) and the Space Network (SN) to communicate with the TESS Observatory for commanding and telemetry. The MOC also works with the Flight Dynamics Facility (FDF) located at Goddard Space Flight Center to generate position and tracking data.

The Science Operations Center (SOC) is an overarching group comprised of the Payload Operations Center (POC) at MIT, and the Science Processing and Operations Center (SPOC) at Ames Research Center. The SOC is the heart of TESS science operations and processing. The POC coordinates with the MOC to schedule all science observations and conduct instrument planning. The POC is also the interface to the DSN to receive the science data and performs the first steps in science processing. Once the science data is processed by the POC it is sent to the SPOC. The SPOC further calibrates the data and produces light curve files and detects exoplanet transit signatures. These products are then sent to the TESS Science Office (TSO) and the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST). The TSO, located SAO, further reviews the data and identifies TESS Objects of Interest which are used for follow up observations. The TSO also acts as the interface to the larger scientific community. The MAST, located at the Space Telescope Institute in Baltimore Maryland, archives all of the TESS mission data and makes it publically available via their website.

TESS Ground Operations


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Goddard Space Flight Center