TESS Launch Postponed For Tomorrow Due To Falcon 9 Issue

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Space Exploration Technologies, as billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's private launch service is formally known, said on Twitter that the blast-off was scrubbed due to unspecified problems in the rocket's guidance control system. SpaceX did not elaborate about testing to be done.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), was supposed to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in the early hours Tuesday.

Two hours before a scheduled liftoff, SpaceX on Monday postponed its planned launch of NASA's newest planet-hunting satellite.

Another of the missions to follow up Tess data will be the Swiss-led, European Space Agency (Esa) project called Cheops (CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite).

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

The much-anticipated launch of NASA's newest exoplanet hunter has been rescheduled, the USA space agency announced in a brief news release. "On average the stars that TESS observes are 30-100 times brighter and 10 times closer than the stars that Kepler focused on".

The Tess mission will go up on a Falcon rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida and survey almost the entire sky over the course of the next two years. These so-called "transits" may mean that planets are in orbit around them.

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This will reveal whether the planets are rocky (like Earth), gas giants (like Jupiter) or something even more unusual.

The spacecraft, not much larger than a refrigerator, carries four cameras that will survey the nearest, brightest stars in the sky for signs of passing planets. It is created to look stars of all ages and sizes within a few hundred light-years of Earth, and it will be able to canvass the entire sky in just two years.

TESS has been created to hunt for exoplanets orbiting around stars in Earth's immediate neighbourhood. TESS is expected to reach a highly elliptical, first-of-a-kind orbit between Earth and the Moon in around 60 days.

In addition to its search for exoplanets, TESS will allow scientists from the wider community to request targets for astrophysics research on approximately 20,000 additional objects during the mission through its Guest Investigator programme.

Among the new discoveries, they hope, will be a rocky world with an atmosphere that can be probed for signs of life.

Tess is NASA's next step in the search for exoplanets, including those that could support life.