NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) spacecraft successfully completed its second trajectory correction maneuver starting at about 11:30 a.m. EDT (8:30 a.m. PDT) Tuesday.
CAPSTONE will perform several such maneuvers during its four-month-long journey to lunar orbit to refine its trajectory to the Moon. The next trajectory correction maneuver is targeted for late July. 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.
Following its launch on June 28, CAPSTONE orbited Earth attached to Rocket Lab’s Photon upper stage, which maneuvered it into position for its journey to the Moon. After CAPSTONE’s successful deployment and start of commissioning on July 4, the spacecraft experienced communications issues while in contact with the Deep Space Network (DSN). The mission team, led by Advanced Space, re-established contact with CAPSTONE at 9:26 a.m. EDT (6:26 a.m. PDT) on July 6. The mission team was able to determine the root cause of the communications problem, and on July 7 NASA’s CAPSTONE successfully completed its first trajectory correction maneuver.