But first, it'll need a boost from SpaceX.
Space X will attempt to land the first stage of the rocket on the "Of course I still love you" drone ship offshore.
The TESS satellite will survey the sky in search of small dips in the light emanating from nearby stars. These events are called transits, hence TESS' name.
NASA estimates that its exoplanet-seeking satellite will track down around 20,000 planets beyond our solar system, Phys.org reports. Astronomers have validated 2,600 of its observations, and thousands more are awaiting confirmation.
Focusing on the nearest stars means that any new worlds that TESS discovers will be close enough that future telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope will be able to detect and measure the thin atmospheres of those planets, said Stassun. Eventually TESS will get into its designated orbit around 12 June, he added.
After the appropriate maneuvers lasting about two months, the satellite telescope, which has a refrigerator size and weighs 318 kilos, will be placed in a highly elliptical orbit around the Earth, to which no other boat has ever been fitted.
The launch date of this mission was initially on Monday but, later the SpaceX announced that it will be rescheduled to Wednesday as more time is required to check the rocket in order to make sure that everything is according to the plan. It is a never-before-used lunar-resonant orbit and it has been chosen to give the spacecraft a mostly unobstructed view of the cosmos, while helping to keep radiation impact to a minimum.
Because the launch is targeting a specific moment within a 30-second window, there was no margin for error if a technical or weather issue cropped up.
If it doesn't launch Wednesday, NASA still has a launch window for nearly every other day this week.
The launch has been a long time coming for NASA. SpaceX will also broadcast a live webcast of the mission on its YouTube page, beginning about 6:15 p.m., and WRAL.com will carry the launch live online and in the WRAL News app.
Different payloads require different launch certifications. The company hope to change that moving forward.
NASA's latest space-bound astrophysics instrument will be carried aloft by a Falcon 9 rocket from the fleet of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's private launch service, Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX.
NASA Planet Hunter, new planet-chasing mission, ready to dispatch Monday, intends to propel the look for extraterrestrial life by filtering the skies for close-by, Earth-like planets. SpaceX had previously earned the proper certification for the v1.1 Falcon.