Forecast clear for SpaceX launch of NASA planet hunter Wednesday

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The forecast is excellent for SpaceX’s planned 6:51 p.m. Wednesday launch from Cape Canaveral of a NASA science mission that will search for planets in other solar systems.

There’s less than a 10 percent chance of conditions that would violate launch criteria, with cumulus clouds posing the only small threat, according to the Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron.

The launch will be targeted for one second within a 30-second window at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 40.

SpaceX on Monday afternoon halted its first countdown to launch of the $337 million Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite mission, or TESS, saying it needed more time to analyze the Falcon 9 rocket’s guidance, navigation and control systems.

“The TESS spacecraft is in excellent health, and remains ready for launch,” NASA said.

The two-year TESS mission aims to find thousands of so-called exoplanets orbiting nearby, bright stars. Once identified, follow-up observations will determine if some are Earth-like and potentially habitable.

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