Yesterday we were expecting to see the amazing planet-hunting satellite from NASA to be sent up into the sky and begin its journey towards the Earth’s orbit.
But the schedule was delayed from Monday evening to Wednesday, so we will see TESS launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, tomorrow. The time of launching is not yet known, but NASA has informed the public that there will be more updates on their blog page.
Monday, in a tweet, SpaceX – who provides the Launchpad and the rocket for TESS has said that it will be “standing down today to conduct additional GNC [guidance navigation control] analysis, and teams are now working towards a targeted launch of @NASA_TESS on Wednesday, April 18.”
As a follow-up, NASA also tweeted that their team are working to “conduct additional Guidance Navigation and Control analysis. The @NASA_TESS spacecraft is in excellent health and remains ready for launch on the new targeted date of Wednesday, April 18. Updates: blogs.nasa.gov/tess.”
TESS – The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite
NASA’s latest satellite has an important mission: it will search exoplanets – meaning planets outside our solar system, and it will try to find those that are Earth-like and can support life.
After the launching of this satellite, TESS will use all its fuel to get to the Earth’s orbit and then gravity from the Moon will do its job. The mission’s objective is to last at least two years.
Joel Villasenor, at MIT, who’s been an instrument scientist for TESS, said in a statement that:
“The Moon and the satellite are in a sort of dance. The Moon pulls the satellite on one side, and by the time TESS completes one orbit, the Moon is on the other side tugging in the opposite direction. The overall effect is the Moon’s pull is evened out, and it’s a very stable configuration over many years. Nobody’s done this before, and I suspect other programs will try to use this orbit later on.”
The mission will officially begin after 60 days, once TESS gets to establish an orbit around Earth and it tests its instruments in space.