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Watch SpaceX launch NASA's new research satellite on the planet

It is almost time for SpaceX to launch the NASA TESS a space telescope that will look for more exoplants in almost the entire night sky. The launch has been delayed more than once already: originally scheduled for March 20, it slipped until April 16 (Monday), then some minor issues pushed it to today. pm – at 15:51 Pacific time, to be precise. You can watch the live launch below.

TESS, which stands for Transit Exoplanet Satellite Survey, is essentially a giant wide-angle camera (four of them, in fact) that will take pictures of the night sky from a wide, eccentric orbit and never tried before.

The technique that he will use is basically the same one used by NASA's Kepler mission, which has been going on for a long time and has been very successful. When distant plants pass between us and their star, it causes a momentary decrease in the brightness of this star. TESS will monitor thousands of stars simultaneously for such "transits", looking at only one part of the sky for a month before moving on to another.

From here two years, he will have imagined 85% of the sky – hundreds of times the area observed by Kepler, and on completely different stars: brighter stars that should give more data.

TESS, which is about the size of a small car, will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX will attempt to recover the first stage of the rocket by landing it on a drone ship, and the nose cone will hopefully receive a light parachute-assisted dive into the Atlantic, where it can also be retrieved.

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The stream below should be aired 15 minutes before launch, or around 3:35 am