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 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.

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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:

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

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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.

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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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Former Gizmodo physics writer and founder of Birdmodo, now a science communicator specializing in quantum computing and birds

DISCUSSION

Agamemnerd

GNC: Guidance, Navigation & Control systems... maybe less of a sensor fault more of an “oh oh, did someone check the software build?” issue. North Korean hackers? Russians? SLS + Blue Origin hackers?
Good idea for an article: SpaceX data and systems security.