SpaceX launches NASA’s planet-finding spacecraft TESS

NASA’s new planet-hunting Kepler successor TESS is on its way to orbit. SpaceX has successfully launched the spacecraft after scrubbing its first attempt on Monday to review and analyze its guidance, navigation and control systems. The Falcon 9 rocket carrying TESS took off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, and its first stage will attempt to land on the “Of Course I Still Love You” barge in the Atlantic Ocean.

NASA’s TESS spacecraft will remain in an elongated orbit of the Earth, 67,000 miles away at the very least to keep it well outside of the Van Allen radiation belts. Since NASA’s goal is to find more habitable planets in Goldilocks zones, it will focus on finding planets from nearby systems. That will give TESS, which is more powerful than Kepler, the power to detect more info and gather more data about the planets it finds.

This article originally appeared on Engadget.

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