NASA reconnects with CAPSTONE satellite heading for the moon

(ORDO NEWS) — The US space agency announced the successful resumption of communications with the CAPSTONE satellite, which was sent into space on June 28.

The CubeSat is now moving towards the Moon, while NASA and Advanced Space continue to monitor the situation.

What happened?

On Tuesday, June 28, the CAPSTONE spacecraft was launched into space on an Electron rocket from the private space company Rocket Lab.

After passing through the preparatory stages on Monday, July 4, the device separated from the Photon platform in the direction of the Moon.

Shortly thereafter, NASA specialists lost contact with the spacecraft . The department began work to detect problems and resume communications. The spacecraft team emphasized that the satellite has enough fuel to perform the necessary maneuvers and reach the moon.

After troubleshooting, controllers received a signal from the spacecraft at 9:26 a.m. ET and full telemetry from it confirming that the spacecraft was normal.

Thanks to the work done over the past day, the team is fully confident that the problem has been fixed and, thanks to changes in configuration and operations, it will not happen again, Advanced Space said in a statement on the status of the spacecraft.

In a statement, NASA explained that the loss of contact was “caused by the commissioning of the communications system” based on ground tests. At the same time, the satellite team still does not know the specific causes of the failure.

What were the consequences for the mission of the loss of communication

The communications interruption caused controllers to delay the first CAPSTONE trajectory correction maneuver scheduled for 5 July. NASA and Advanced Space said the maneuver is now scheduled for July 7th.

Mission

The main goal of the mission is to test the stability of the orbit, since in the future NASA plans to place the Gateway station on it, which is a key element of the American Artemis lunar program.

If all goes according to plan, CAPSTONE’s journey will take several months, and it will reach a nearly rectilinear halo orbit around the Moon on November 13th. In addition, CAPSTONE is planned to be used in a number of navigation and communication experiments.

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