Launch of NASA's newest planet-hunting spacecraft delayed at least two days

In this image released by SpaceX, NASA' s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (Tess) sits atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Space Launch Complex 40, Monday, April 16, 2018, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. NASA’s newest planet-hunting spacecraft is poised for a Monday evening launch. The Tess satellite will survey almost the entire sky, staring at the brightest, closest stars in an effort to find any planets that might be encircling them. (SpaceX via AP)

By MARCIA DUNN - Associated Press
Wednesday, April 18th 2018, 21:04 pm EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's newest planet-hunting spacecraft will have to wait another couple of days before lifting off.

Two hours before Monday evening's scheduled launch, SpaceX announced it needed more time to check its rocket, which will carry the satellite to orbit. The next attempt will be Wednesday night.

The satellite known as Tess will survey almost the entire sky, staring at the brightest, closest stars in an effort to find any planets that might be encircling them. These mysterious worlds beyond our solar system, called exoplanets, could harbor life.

Scientists expect Tess — the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite — to discover thousands of rocky and icy planets and gas giants, maybe even water worlds and places defying imagination. Bigger and more powerful observatories of the future will scrutinize these prime candidates for potential signs of life.

SpaceX said extra time is needed to examine the Falcon 9 rocket's guidance, navigation and control system. Additional information was not immediately available, according to a spokesman.

SpaceX sometimes uses recycled rocket boosters, but this one is brand new. The company hopes to land this first stage on a floating ocean platform following liftoff, and reuse it on a space station supply run for NASA this summer.

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The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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