NASA’s CAPSTONE (Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment) is all set to become the first spacecraft to fly a specific unique lunar orbit.
The tiny CubeSat, which is approximately the size of a microwave oven, will serve as a pathfinder for other future missions to the moon with the crew.
Rocket Lab took to Twitter to announce that it has delayed the launch of CAPSTONE by a single day and is now targeting June 28 for it.
With live coverage on NASA Television, the launch will take place from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula.
Going to the Moon is no small feat. Our team has been working on the historic #CAPSTONE mission for more than 2 years, developing innovative tech to help us explore the Moon and beyond with small sats. Here’s just a tiny glimpse of our incredible people behind the mission. pic.twitter.com/2QHP65dNQ9
— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) June 26, 2022
The spacecraft, which will arrive near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) on November 13, has been designed and built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems.
The project, which has been funded by NASA’s Small Business Technology Transfer programme, could help improve the efficiency of solar cells for space missions and use on Earth.
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This is the first spacecraft to test the stability of the new orbit NRHO around the moon and is crucial as the pull of gravity from the earth and the moon interact in this spot in space to allow for a nearly-stable orbit.
The unique type of orbit will be used by NASA for parking its lunar-orbiting space station Gateway as part of its Artemis programme that is scheduled to take two astronauts to the lunar South Pole in 2024-25 and construct a lunar base.
(With inputs from agencies)
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