What Is the Function of This Array of What Looks Like Mirrors on TESS?

The silvery/mirror like surface on the spacecraft are Optical Solar Reflectors. They are very effective radiators to dissipate the internal heat from the spacecraft. The mirror effect reduces absorption (i.e. reflects visible light where the Sun's intensity is strongest) while the quartz material itself radiates very effectively in the infrared (i.

e. radiates heat).

Your guess that these are effectively the same as those on Inmarsat 5 is correct. However Inmarsat, being a geocomm satellite, has significant higher heat dissipation, and therefore needs much larger radiator area - hence the deployable radiator. Here's an image of a recent GOES satellite with an engineer "admiring themselves in the mirror" to illustrate the widespread use of these devices, be they deployable or not.

The Mashable.com article TESS is about to become your new favorite NASA mission shows a beautiful photo of the TESS spacecraft in a state that looks like it is nearly ready to launch.

There is a panel with array of what looks like mirrors on one side. What are they for? How do they work? Are they related to or the same as the large panels shown in the question What are these very large, square panels on Inmarsat 5's? or something completely different?

below: TESS on Earth. Cropped from Mashable.com. Credit: NASA

below: "A look at TESS inside the PHSF at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida." Cropped from Space.com's NASA's TESS Exoplanet-Hunting Mission in Pictures. Credit: Kim Shiflett/NASA

below left: TESS on Earth. Mashable.com. Credit: NASA. right: Screenshot of YouTube video NASAs New Planet Hunter: TESS Click for full size.

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