A new rocket to go to Mars, and a satellite to look for planets beyond

Some exciting news in the world of space! (Space world? Space field, maybe? Eh, whatever.)

First up, SpaceX receives approval to build their new BFR at the Port of Los Angeles:

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to approve a permit that allows SpaceX to build and operate a facility at the Port of L.A. to develop its BFR rocket and spaceship system.

The formal approval came days after L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that SpaceX would build its massive, next-generation rocket and spacecraft at the 19-acre site at the former Southwest Marine Shipyard at Berth 240.

Bruce McHugh, director of construction and real estate at SpaceX, estimated that production and fabrication of the rocket would begin in about two or three years.

SpaceX’s existing Falcon rockets are manufactured at their facility in Hawthorne, CA, and are transported by train to launch sites in Florida or California. This is possible due to the Falcon 9’s diameter of 12 feet (3.7 meters). However, the BFR’s diameter of 29.5 feet (9 meters) will necessitate ocean transportation, making a factory next to the port very helpful.

All this means that the BFR is one step closer to reality, which is quite exciting because the BFR is what SpaceX plans on using for missions to Mars, which means I’m one step closer to visiting the beachfront property on Mars that I bought from  someone who said that he’s a close personal friend of Elon Musk.

The next story involves an actual rocket launch, of NASA’s TESS satellite:

NASA’s TESS spacecraft launched Wednesday at 3:51 p.m. Pacific time on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

It will take 60 days before TESS reaches its planned orbit and begins its science mission. So far, the spacecraft’s mission is going as planned, officials said.

TESS will use its four cameras to stare at the heavens, searching for relatively small worlds around nearby stars. It will shift its gaze roughly every 27 days, giving it a glimpse of almost every part of the sky by the end of its two-year primary mission.

With this satellite, NASA is planning on searching for smaller planets than they are currently capable of, such as planets only four times as massive as Earth. They plan on focusing on red dwarves, since it is more likely that planets with regular orbits around a red dwarf will still have liquid water.

All in all, very exciting times for space travel, and one step closer to my dream of searching Priceline for a space trip!