The launch of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has been delayed for at least 48 hours because of a technical problem with the SpaceX Falcon 90 rocket that is supposed to send it into space.
Originally scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral on Wednesday, April 18 (US west coast time), the launch sequence was put in stand-down mode on Monday afternoon, with NASA reporting an issue with the privately built Falcon craft.
In a tweet, NASA said the problem lay in the rocket’s guidance, navigation and control systems and would need a minimum of two days to resolve.
TESS has been designed to hunt for exoplanets orbiting around stars in Earth’s immediate neighbourhood. During a two-year mission, it will monitor an estimated 200,000 stars, looking for temporary decreases in brightness that indicate the transit of a planet.
The satellite will be capable of detecting planets ranging from the size of Earth to gas giants.
Cosmos will bring details of the rescheduled launch as soon as they are known.