Launch delay for NASA's newest planet-hunting spacecraft

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But two hours before the planned launch, the company announced that the take-off has been postponed to Wednesday to make time for more guidance, navigation and control analysis. SpaceX did not elaborate about testing to be done.

TESS will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Nasa stated in a website release.

The launch of NASA's new planet-seeking satellite has been delayed for at least 48 hours.

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The BBC understands that scientists on the mission also want a delay so they can run some extra checks on the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite itself.

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

Those planets could be studied using the James Webb Space Telescope that NASA is supposed to launch in a couple of years.

These mysterious worlds beyond our solar system, called exoplanets, could harbour life.

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The main aim of the TESS is to hunt the alien planets that are believed to be circling close to the sun.

The spacecraft will be looking for a phenomenon known as a transit, where a planet passes in front of its star, causing a periodic and regular dip in the star's brightness.

"Transit photometry, which looks at how much light an object puts out at any given time, can tell researchers a lot about a planet".

The satellite will look for transits or occasional light-blocking events that result due to the presence of a planet orbiting a star, according to a statement from NASA.

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.

This will reveal whether the planets are rocky (like Earth), gas giants (like Jupiter) or something even more unusual. The satellite will fly with the Falcon for 44 minutes before being ejected on to a highly elliptical path around Earth.

There are two ways to watch the telescope launch into space, so bookmark this page - and don't miss our in-depth coverage of TESS and how the mission could discover dozens of habitable rocky planets near Earth.

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.

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