SpaceX launch of NASA's planet hunting satellite from Cape Canaveral delayed

Paola Ditto
Aprile 17, 2018

But SpaceX tweeted earlier tonight that the launch would now be delayed until Wednesday, April 18.

To fix the Falcon 9 issue, the SpaceX launch crew need additional time to conduct an analysis of the rocket's Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) system, NASA explained in the news release. SpaceX did not elaborate about testing to be done.

The telescope was due to go up from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 18:32 local time on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

NASA in a blog post said that the Tess spacecraft is in excellent health, and remains ready for launch.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune's technology newsletter. Scientists at the space agency expect TESS to add hundreds of Earth-sized and super-Earth-sized planets into the existing catalog of exoplanets and bolster our search for life beyond Earth.

Last week, SpaceX was reported to be raising $507 million in new funding in a round that would value it at $25 billion.

Tess follows in the footsteps of Kepler, a groundbreaking space telescope launched in 2009.

Barely 2 hours before the launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Monday carrying NASA's new space telescope created to detect worlds beyond our solar system, the planned launch had to be delayed for at least 48 hours due to a technical glitch.

"We might even find planets that orbit stars that we can even see with the naked eye", she added. Its main goal over the next two years is to scan more than 200,000 of the brightest stars for signs of planets circling them and causing a dip in brightness known as a transit.

"We're expecting to find 2,000-3,000 planets that are certainly below the size of our Jupiter and a lot of them below the size of Neptune; so, the ones that have the potential for being terrestrial, for being rocky", said Jennifer Burt from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which leads the mission.

TESS and Kepler use the same system of detecting planetary transits, or shadows cast as they pass in front of their star.

The Tess satellite will scan nearly the entire sky, staring at the brightest, closest stars in an effort to find any planets that might be encircling them.

NASA's TESS mission hopes to find exoplanets beyond our solar system.

Roughly the size of a refrigerator with solar-panel wings and equipped with four special cameras, TESS will take about 60 days to reach a highly elliptical, first-of-a-kind orbit looping it between Earth and the moon every two and a half weeks.

"TESS is very much a trash-treasure sort of mission", said Natalia Guerrero, deputy manager for the TESS Objects of Interest team.

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