CAPSTONE (the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Know-how Operations and Navigation Experiment) aids NASA’s Artemis program, which incorporates touchdown the primary girl and the primary particular person of shade on the Moon and establishing a long-term presence there.
Launching on an Electron launch car and deploying from Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform, CAPSTONE is a 55-pound satellite tv for pc created by Advanced Space that may function the primary spacecraft to check a singular, elliptical lunar orbit. As a precursor for Gateway and different Artemis components, a world and industrial Moon-orbiting outpost that’s a part of NASA’s Artemis program, CAPSTONE will assist scale back danger for future spacecraft by validating progressive navigation applied sciences and verifying the dynamics of this halo-shaped orbit.
The mission is the primary time Rocket Lab will use its Photon spacecraft platform as a trans-lunar injection stage to put a satellite tv for pc on a trajectory that may take it past Earth orbit to the Moon. After lifting off on Electron to an preliminary elliptical LEO, Photon will separate and use its 3D printed HyperCurie engine to offer in-space propulsion to permit CAPSTONE to interrupt freed from Earth’s gravity and set a course for the Moon. After deploying the CAPSTONE satellite tv for pc, Photon will proceed by itself trajectory to conduct a lunar fly-by, whereas CAPSTONE will use its personal propulsion system to enter a cislunar orbit.
Following a three-to-four-month journey to the Moon, the CAPSTONE cubesat will enter a close to rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO), which is a extremely elliptical orbit over the Moon’s poles. Throughout its six-month main mission in orbit across the Moon, CAPSTONE will validate the propulsion necessities for sustaining such a orbit as predicted by fashions, decreasing logistical uncertainties for future missions. It is going to additionally check the accuracy of progressive spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation options in addition to display capabilities for industrial assist of future lunar missions. The NRHO supplies the benefit of an unobstructed view of Earth along with protection of the lunar South Pole.
Initially slated for lift-off from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complicated 2 in Virginia, the CAPSTONE mission will now happen from Launch Complicated 1 to assist a This fall launch window.
“Versatile isn’t a phrase normally used to explain lunar missions however working two launch complexes offers us the liberty to pick a website that greatest meets mission necessities and schedule,” stated Rocket Lab Chief Govt Officer, Mr. Peter Beck. “Our group is immensely proud to be launching one of many first pathfinding missions to assist NASA’s objective of delivering a sustainable and sturdy presence on the Moon. We’ve teamed up with the NASA Launch Companies Program on earlier Electron missions to low Earth orbit, so it’s thrilling to be working with them once more to go only a bit additional than ordinary…some 380,000 km additional.”
Superior Area of Colorado owns the satellite tv for pc and operates the mission. CAPSTONE growth is supported by NASA’s Area Know-how Mission Directorate by way of the Small Spacecraft Know-how Program at NASA’s Ames Analysis Middle in California’s Silicon Valley. Superior Exploration Techniques inside NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate helps the launch and mission operations. NASA’s Launch Companies Program at Kennedy Area Middle in Florida is chargeable for launch administration.