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April 16th, 2018

SpaceX Delays the Launch of NASA's Exoplanet Hunter, TESS

SpaceX is pushing the launch of NASA's new space telescope, TESS, to the earliest, Wednesday, April 18, from Cape Canaveral AFS.

Fairing containing NASA's TESS satellite at the Kennedy Space Center.
Photo is courtesy of NASA.

TESS (the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) is designed to explore planets that occupy space beyond our solar system in a hunt for exoplanets. The delay was caused by an unspecified problem occurring in the guidance control system of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, according to the company's CEO, Elon Musk.

TESS is packing 16.4-megapixel imaging units that are able to simultaneously cover 24 degree segments of the sky in 13.7 day orbits before moving on to the next sky segment for the spacecraft's intense peering processes. The expectation, by the time the mission is concluded, is that TESS will have looked at some 85 percent of the visible sky. NASA receives the satellite's data and then examines, with MIT, the information to assess if any planet possesses the characteristics to host lifeforms. Thousands of planets will be cataloged in this manner.