FIRST AIRED: April 20, 2018

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Transcript

00:00:00
>> Three, two, one, zero.>> A NASA satellite that could find alien life is being blasted into space.>> A planet hunting spacecraft that will search for new worlds beyond our solar system.>> The payload delivered by a SpaceX rocket. NASA's planet-hunting orbital telescope is designed to detect worlds that might be capable of harboring life.
00:00:25
It's dubbed the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS for short. After a two day postponement, the launch went off without a hitch. Minutes after blast-off, the main booster jettisoned its payload and flew itself back to earth for a successful touchdown.>> The Falcon IX coming back to the drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
00:00:45
>> Meanwhile, TESS flew on. It'll take some 60 days for the fridge-sized probe wielding four special cameras to reach orbit. NASA expects it to pinpoint thousands more previously unknown worlds. It's planned to be a two-year mission, costing $337 million. But if it's another small step for NASA, it could be a giant leap for SpaceX.
00:01:11
Until now, the private launch service owned by Elon Musk has largely launched commercial satellites. TESS is the first payload under a special certification won by SpaceX to carry NASA's highest priority scientific instruments.