SpaceX is about to launch NASA's revolutionary planet-hunting telescope

As expected, the companion for the filming of TESS launched from Cape Canaveral on the evening of 16 April.

"S will open our eyes to the variety of planets around some of the closest stars", Paul Hertz, NASA's Astrophysics Division director, said in a statement. The TESS launch overview will begin at 11:00 followed by the prelaunch news conference at 13:30 EDT, a science news conference from 15:00 EDT and then live coverage from the countdown will run from 18:00 to 20:00.

The satellite's objective is to extend the successful mission of the Kepler Space Telescope by observing stars and monitoring them for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits.

An illustration of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite in space. But Kepler, for its primary mission at least, only looked at a very small patch of sky, and many of its discoveries were simply too far away or too dim for other telescopes to pursue with further analysis.

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NASA's Dr Martin Still also said in a blog: "We expect to find a whole range of planet sizes between planets the size of Mercury or even the moon, our moon, to planets the same size as Jupiter and everything in between". Some say it's a planet that orbits a star at just the right distance for liquid water to exist on its surface. Within this vast visual perspective, the sky has been divided into 26 sectors that Tess will observe one by one. These events are called transits, hence TESS' name.

There should be no issues with SpaceX being able to broadcast video from space as TESS is considered a public rather than commercial mission.

"TESS is going to significantly build the number of planets that we need to consider", said Ricker. He is interested in the variations in brightness of the stars that will be observed by Tess.

"We can measure the stars' fundamental properties. So, in essence we can do the equivalent of an ultrasound scan on them".

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The launch was retargeted for Wednesday, with an anticipated liftoff time of 6:51 p.m. ET (3:51 p.m. PT).

TESS will look for dips in the visible light of stars for detecting exoplanets as they cross in front of stars along our line of sight to them.

A good numerous new planets will be relatively close - within a few dozen light-years of Earth.

This highly-elliptical orbit will help maximize TESS's field of vision, making it possible for the satellite's four cameras to image up to 85 percent of the sky.

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When active, TESS will collect 27GB of scientific data every day before being put through NASA's specialist algorithms, which are created to clean up the signal to remove any background interference.

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