A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch from Florida Wednesday afternoon with a planet-searching satellite on board for NASA.
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite ( TESS ) is part of a mission to find exoplanets that periodically block part of the light from their host stars, events called transits, NASA said.
TESS will survey the nearest and brightest stars for two years to search for transiting exoplanets, according to scientists. NASA’s satellite will look for stars 30 to 100 times brighter than those observed by the Kepler satellite launched in 2009.
TESS also will scan a larger area than Kepler, NASA officials said. It will spend about a month at a time focusing on one portion of sky, eventually covering the entire sky. TESS was designed to be stable in order to focus its cameras on the stars it will monitor.
The launch had been scheduled for Monday in Cape Canaveral but it was postponed for additional systems analysis.