SpaceX launch delayed, rescheduled for Wednesday

Alonzo Simpson
April 17, 2018

In fact, SpaceX will try to recover the payload fairings again today (April 16) when it launches a Falcon 9 carrying NASA's next exoplanet-hunting space telescope, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.

"One of the biggest questions in exoplanet exploration is: If an astronomer finds a planet in a star's habitable zone, will it be interesting from a biologist's point of view?" said George Ricker, TESS principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research in Cambridge, which is leading the mission.

This mission will take about two years.

On the NASA website, there will be a 30-minute show on Monday at 10 am EDT by the NASA EDGE team that will talk about the TESS spacecraft and the science of looking planets outside the solar system. "We're going to be able study individual planets and start talking about the differences between planets. This is the future". The spacecraft is expected to identify thousands of planets orbiting nearby stars.

"Humans have wondered forever whether we were alone in the universe, and until 25 years ago the only planets we knew about were the eight in our own solar system", he told reporters on the eve of the TESS launch.

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Launching anything into space is a very expensive business. The aging spacecraft is now low on fuel and near the end of its life.

TESS uses the same method as Kepler for finding potential planets, by tracking the dimming of light when a celestial body passes in front of a star.

The launch is now scheduled for Wednesday evening.

This image made available by NASA shows an illustration of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).

"Tess will find small planets, rocky planets that might have atmospheres and features that may be conducive to life", Buzasi said.

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