Space

NASA’s CAPSTONE Executes Third Maneuver on Track to the Moon

The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, or CAPSTONE, is a CubeSat that will fly a unique orbit around the Moon intended for NASA’s future Artemis lunar outpost Gateway. Its six-month mission will help launch a new era of deep space exploration. Credit: NASA Ames Research Center

NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) successfully completed its third trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) on Monday, July 25. CAPSTONE is taking a long but fuel-efficient route to the Moon, flying about 958,000 miles (1.54 million kilometers) from Earth before looping back around to its near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO).

CAPSTONE launched on June 28, followed by successful deployment and the start of spacecraft commissioning on July 4. It successfully completed its first trajectory correction maneuver on July 7 and its second on July 12.


CAPSTONE will fly in a unique, halo-shaped orbit around the Moon before the orbit is used by Gateway, NASA’s future lunar outpost for our Artemis program. The CubeSat will come within 1,000 miles of one lunar pole on its near pass and 43,500 miles from the other pole at its peak every seven days, requiring less propulsion capability for spacecraft flying to and from the Moon’s surface than other circular orbits. It’s a six-month mission that will help launch a new era of exploration. Credit: NASA’s Ames Research Center

At the completion of the third trajectory correction maneuver, CAPSTONE was about 780,000 miles (1.25 million kilometers) from Earth and was moving at about 595 miles per hour (about 267 meters per second). It will perform several such maneuvers during its journey to lunar orbit to refine its trajectory to the Moon.

CAPSTONE remains on track to arrive to its lunar orbit on November 13, 2022.

Share
By
NASA

Recent Posts

New RNA Tool Can Illuminate Brain Circuits and Edit Specific Cells

Editing technology is precise and broadly applicable to all tissues and species. Scientists at Duke…

October 5, 2022

Volcanic Super-Eruptions Are Millions of Years in the Making

While the magma supplying super-eruptions develops over long periods of time, the magma disturbs the…

October 5, 2022

Do Stars Remember Their Past? Study Sheds New Light on Old Theories of Stellar Evolution

A star's "childhood" shapes their stellar evolution.  From newborns to teenagers, stars in their "young…

October 5, 2022

Promising Anti-Cancer Drug Could Also Help With COVID

According to research conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine, multiple variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be…

October 5, 2022

Conventional Computers Can Learn To Solve Tricky Quantum Problems in Physics and Chemistry

Physicists prove that classical machine learning models can improve predictions about quantum materials. Quantum computers…

October 5, 2022

Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Triggered Monstrous Global Tsunami With Mile-High Waves

Sixty-six million years ago a miles-wide asteroid struck Earth, wiping out nearly all the dinosaurs…

October 5, 2022