Watch NASA'S New Exoplanet-Hunting Satellite Launch Aboard a SpaceX Rocket Right Here [Update: Launch Delayed]

Illustration of what TESS might look like in orbit
Illustration: NASA

If all goes according to plan, NASA’s new Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, will launch today at 6:32 pm ET from Cape Canaveral.

You can watch the stream below on NASA TV, which will be airing TESS-related coverage throughout the day:

Given how much press it’s gotten, you can tell that folks are pretty excited about TESS. The teeny telescope will replace the Kepler/K2 mission, which has already discovered thousands of exoplanets. TESS will look at as many as 200,000 stars in the closest 300 light-years around Earth.


Perhaps TESS will discover Earth 2.0—but it wouldn’t be able to pinpoint that for sure. The satellite is instead meant to create a catalogue of nearby planets that future telescopes, like the James Webb Space Telescope, can then inspect more closely. You can read all about what TESS can and can’t do here:

And here’s what it will take to really find a real Earth 2.0:


The Falcon 9 rocket is vertical and ready to go, according to SpaceX’s Twitter, and weather is 80% favorable for the scheduled launch:


NASA scientists are also hosting a Reddit AMA over on r/science.

This is exciting stuff!!! We’ll keep you updated if things change or if there’s any big news before liftoff.


Update 4:20PM ET: SpaceX confirmed via Twitter that the launch has been delayed to a target date of Wednesday, April 18 for additional analysis.


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Ryan F. Mandelbaum

Science writer at Gizmodo | I like physics and eating