NASA's CAPSTONE remains in stable condition on track to the Moon; teams continue to work towards recovery
NASA's tiny moon probe, the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment or CAPSTONE, remains in a stable condition on track to the Moon, the agency and Advanced Space, the mission owner and operator, said in an update.
The Moon-bound spacecraft executed a planned trajectory correction maneuver on September 8, following which the spacecraft entered into safe mode. While work is ongoing to return the spacecraft to normal status, it is power positive - meaning it is generating more power from its solar panels than the spacecraft systems are using.
Here's what Advanced Space said in its latest update on the mission:
"The CAPSTONE mission team is continuing to work towards recovery of the spacecraft full three-axis control. This work includes collecting information from the spacecraft, running simulations, and refining recovery plans. The vehicle remains stable and power positive in its current configuration."
CAPSTONE is owned by Advanced Space on behalf of NASA and was designed and built by Terran Orbital. The spacecraft operations are performed jointly by teams at Advanced Space and Terran Orbital.
The CAPSTONE mission launched on June 28, 2022, aboard a Rocket Lab's Electron rocket from the company's Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. The mission is designed to test the dynamics of a near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) by demonstrating how to enter into and operate in this special orbit.
Once CAPSTONE reaches its intended destination, the spacecraft will orbit this area around the Moon for at least six months to understand the characteristics of the orbit.
(To be updated)
MISSION UPDATE: #CAPSTONE remains in a stable condition on track to the Moon. Teams are continuing to collect information, run simulations, and refine plans for recovery of the spacecraft orientation control. Get the latest updates: https://t.co/KPzT9i8edu pic.twitter.com/EfxPHWpwOv— NASA Ames (@NASAAmes) September 30, 2022