On Wednesday, April 18th at 6:51 p.m. EDT, SpaceX successfully launched NASA's TESS spacecraft from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Following stage separation, Falcon 9's first stage successfully landed on "Of Course I Still Love You," SpaceX's droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
Falcon 9 delivered TESS to a highly elliptical orbit and the spacecraft was deployed approximately 49 minutes after liftoff.
NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a planet finder, led out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. TESS will discover new potential planets orbiting bright host stars relatively close to Earth. In a two-year survey of the solar neighborhood, TESS will search for tell-tale dips in the brightness of stars that indicate an orbiting planet regularly transiting across the face of its star. The satellite is expected to catalog thousands of exoplanet candidates around a wide range of star types, including hundreds of planets that are less than twice the size of Earth. The TESS mission is expected to find planets ranging from small, rocky worlds to gas giants.