Eight minutes after launch, SpaceX hopes to repeat the crowd-pleasing stunt of landing the first stage on the drone-ship Of Course I Still Love You, which will be stationed in the Atlantic.
TESS - short for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite - will search the sky to examine thousands of stars, sending vital information back to scientists on Earth to help them find planets that may be like our own. Kepler stared at 250,000 distant stars in a cross-shaped area equal to 0.25 percent of the sky, and identified the signatures of more than 5,000 confirmed planets and candidates.
Watch the launch live on WINK News Wednesday at 6:51 p.m.More news: Perkasie Police investigate armed robbery at McDonald's
Previously SpaceX has only been able to recover the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket which contains the engine that provides the initial thrust needed to lift the rocket.
It's a two-year mission that will help scientists discover potentially 10,000 planets outside the solar system and around nearby stars.
The spacecraft will look for minuscule dips in the light of those stars that would indicate that a planet passed between its star and the telescope, blocking out a bit of the star's light from TESS's perspective.More news: First game of Detroit Tigers doubleheader vs. Yankees postponed due to weather
"These are the exoplanets that will be easiest to follow up, so that we can study the planets in great detail and learn more about their characteristics", Paul Hertz, who heads NASA's astrophysics division, said during a pre-launch briefing.
Artist's impression of TESS in space.
"Tess will find small planets, rocky planets that might have atmospheres and features that may be conducive to life", Buzasi said.More news: Philly DA wants Meek Mill's 2007 conviction thrown out
With NASA's current planet hunting observatory, Kepler, running on fumes, boffins need to get TESS into orbit to continue the flow of data and, hopefully, discoveries.