SpaceX Rocket Launching NASA’s Looking for Life

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Opinion Column by Greg J Dixon
SpaceX Rocket Launching NASA's TESS Exoplanet Hunter Today   Looking for Life

By Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer | April 16, 2018 07:00 am ET

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — "NASA's next exoplanet-hunting mission is scheduled to launch today (April 16) atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket…The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station here today at 6:32 p.m. EDT (2232 GMT). The weather looks good for the launch, with an 80-percent chance of clear skies at launch time, according to the Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron watching over the mission.

Shortly after liftoff, SpaceX will attempt to land the first stage of the two-stage Falcon 9 on a robotic ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. To date, the company has pulled off such first-stage touchdowns 23 times during Falcon 9 launches, with about half of the boosters coming down on "drone ships" and
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