The space agency's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in the Sunshine State to undergo final preparations ahead of the upcoming launch.
During its two-year mission to survey the visible galactic neighborhood, NASA expects to identify thousands of exoplanets. Once identified, those exoplanets will be scanned for extraterrestrial life by the soon-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
"This first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, around a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances. No ground-based survey can achieve this feat," NASA said in a statement.
"TESS will detect small rock-and-ice planets orbiting a diverse range of stellar types and covering a wide span of orbital periods, including rocky worlds in the habitable zones of their host stars," the statement said.
Ready to find some planets? The next planet finder @NASA_TESS, led by @TESSatMIT, has arrived at @NASAKennedy for launch via @SpaceX no earlier than April 16, pending range approval. More: https://t.co/iqPSI0f2mf pic.twitter.com/qarOeReCQx— NASA Goddard (@NASAGoddard) 15 февраля 2018 г.
Initially, the TESS launch was due to take place March 20, 2018, but was postponed at the request of SpaceX, as the satellite will be launched into orbit on one of the aerospace company's reusable Falcon 9 rockets.
On February 6, SpaceX made history worldwide after it successfully launched the world's most powerful rocket — the Falcon Heavy — inspired and designed by the tech company's founder Elon Musk.