Tuesday, April 17, 2018

SpaceX postpones launch of NASA's planet-hunter spacecraft

SpaceX has postponed the launch of NASA's new planet-hunting mission in order to verify the Falcon 9 rocket's navigation systems, the California-based company has said.


The next opportunity to blast off the $337m satellite -- which aims to advance the search for extraterrestrial life by scanning the skies for nearby, Earth-like planets -- will be tomorrow.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, is "in excellent health and remains ready for launch," SpaceX said on Twitter.

"Launch teams are standing down to conduct additional guidance navigation and control analysis."

The postponement was announced about two hours before the planned blast off from a NASA launchpad in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The washing machine-sized spacecraft is built to search the nearest, brightest stars for signs of periodic dimming. These so-called "transits" may mean that planets are in orbit around them.

TESS is expected to reveal 20,000 planets beyond our solar system, known as exoplanets, NASA said.
 (RTE)
 17/4/18

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