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The launch was originally scheduled for Monday, but was scrubbed two hours before because SpaceX announced it needed more time to check its rocket, which will carry the satellite to orbit. SpaceX tweeted this morning around 7 a.m. that, "all systems and weather are go for Falcon 9's launch of TESS today".

"My great hope is that TESS will find new mysteries", said Dr. Stephen Rinehart, a project scientist for the mission at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

But the primary goal of the flight was to launch NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, a relatively modest spacecraft equipped with four state-of-the-art digital cameras created to measure the light from millions of stars in search of the tell-tale dimming that occurs when an exoplanet moves in front, or "transits".

Justin Crepp, Freimann Assistant Professor of Physics in the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame and a member of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) science team, is an expert in Earth-sized planets and exoplanet searches and can speak to the TESS mission.

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"It was created to look at 150,000 stars in a fairly wide field of view without blinking, for four years", she told reporters on the eve of the launch. These so-called "transits" may mean that planets are in orbit around them.

"TESS is going to dramatically increase the number of planets that we have to study", said Mr Ricker. TESS will likely find exoplanets of a kind we've never seen before. "It's really a scout for this whole process".

- SpaceX is planning to launch a planet-hunting spacecraft for NASA on Wednesday evening. It will build on the work of the Kepler space telescope, which found exoplanets in a similar way but circled the sun, rather than Earth, and focused on one small patch of the sky for its first mission.