CAPSTONE Team Continues Work Towards Spacecraft Recovery

CAPSTONE Revealed in Lunar Sunrise

CAPSTONE revealed in lunar Sunrise: CAPSTONE will fly in cislunar space – the orbital space near and around the Moon. The mission will demonstrate an innovative spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation solution at the Moon from a near rectilinear halo orbit slated for Artemis’ Gateway. Credit: Illustration by NASA/Daniel Rutter

On September 8, the CAPSTONE spacecraft executed a planned trajectory correction maneuver. An issue occurred near the end of that maneuver that put CAPSTONE into safe mode. Later, navigation data indicated that the spacecraft was tumbling and mission controllers found that the onboard computer systems were periodically resetting. Initial recovery efforts were gear toward improving solar power and heating of the propulsion system to restore temperatures to above the operational limit. In preparation for a recovery operation, they were able to improve spacecraft thermal conditions for the propellant and other critical systems while maintaining positive power generation.

The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) mission team is continuing to work towards recovery of the spacecraft orientation control. This work includes collecting information from the spacecraft, running simulations, and refining recovery plans. CAPSTONE is currently power positive. This means that it is generating more power from its solar panels than the spacecraft systems are using. The spacecraft remains in a stable condition on track to the Moon.

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