SpaceX to slow upper rocket stages with "giant party balloon"

NASA’s planet-hunting TESS telescope launches Monday aboard a SpaceX rocket		
		
	Devin Coldewey

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   	7 hours

As SpaceX attempts to do with most of its Falcon 9 rockets, eight minutes after the launch, it will attempt to land the rocket's first stage on a ship offshore in the Atlantic Ocean.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing continue to predict an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff. On board is NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), created to find exoplanets.

This mission will take about two years.

No ground-based survey can achieve this feat.

Nasa predicts that TESS will discover 20,000 exoplanets - or planets outside the solar system - including more than 50 Earth-sized planets and up to 500 planets less than twice the size of Earth.

Once deployed, TESS will observe stars in our solar neighborhood to find potential exoplanet candidates. The MIT researchers behind the project expect to catalog thousands of new planets smaller than Neptune, and perhaps dozens comparable to Earth, which can then be studied with other instruments. Scheduled for an April 2018 launch, the spacecraft will prowl for planets around the closest, brightest stars.

By focusing on planets dozens to hundreds of light-years way, TESS may enable future breakthroughs, he said.

The satellite on board uses four cameras to hunt for exoplanets around stars. SpaceX has proved itself to be interested in reusing its rocket pieces as often as it can, and this plan is just one more way to turn space travel into a more efficient affair. This, as NASA said, will be 400 times larger than what Kepler observed.

The launch will be broadcast on NASA website or on its live YouTube stream which you will find below.

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