Watch SpaceX launch NASA's latest exoplanet-hunting satellite

SpaceX founder Elon Musk speaks at a press conference following the first launch of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida U.S

The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket consists of nine sea level adapted Merlin engines, where as the second stage only uses one vacuum adapted Merlin engine for delivery of the payload to a desired orbit.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing continue to predict an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff.

This image made available by NASA shows an illustration of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).

TESS's job is to spot distant planets when they pass in front of even more distant stars, a movement known to astronomers as a "transit".

No ground-based survey can achieve this feat.

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Once deployed, TESS will observe stars in our solar neighborhood to find potential exoplanet candidates.

NASA is all set to launch its next hunt for planets outside our solar system as preparations get underway for the launch of the TESS satellite, which will be carried into space in a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Tuesday morning. Scheduled for an April 2018 launch, the spacecraft will prowl for planets around the closest, brightest stars. Then, on regular intervals, the data on the identified planets will be transmitted back to Earth, which astronomers can use for follow-up studies.

By focusing on planets dozens to hundreds of light-years way, TESS may enable future breakthroughs, he said.

NASA TV and SpaceX both will be live streaming the launch of the satellite.

"We know of several thousand planets now, and with Tess, we expect to find maybe 10,000 more planets", added Tom Barclay, a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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