Brad Cheetham, our co-founder, CEO, and President of Advanced Space joins Anthony Colangelo of Main Engine Cutoff to talk about our upcoming CAPSTONE mission. They talk about how the mission came to be, what it’s been like working with NASA and the other partners on the mission, and then dive into the nerdy details of the trajectory it’s flying to the moon, the orbits it will operate in, how its autonomous positioning system works, and how it might be used in the future.
The gap between Earth orbit and the moon is open, uncharted, and undefended.
Not much human activity has touched the moon or its surroundings in the half-century since American Apollo astronauts traversed the lunar landscape, but new concerns about China’s interests and motives have leaders in Washington viewing with worry the vast void of cislunar space.
China’s rapid evolution as a global space player and its announced intention to join with Russia in building a joint science base on the moon, raise concerns about what that kind of activity could yield in terms of future capacity to act and potentially wage war in space.
NASA plans to return American astronauts to the moon for longer periods to a base of its own, as the U.S. gears up its competitive drive in space. And governments and private entities the world over are eyeing the moon as a potential source of mineral wealth or as a place to position communication or space transportation hubs.
Cislunar space—that vast void between terrestrial orbits and the moon—represents both an opportunity and a threat because it is not only empty, for the most part, but essentially indefensible. At least for now.
Advanced Space shares small business success with NASA partnership
In addition to testing a unique orbit for NASA’s lunar Gateway, Colorado small business Advanced Space is preparing to demonstrate a new approach for cislunar navigation.
As part of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) mission, scheduled to launch later this year on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket, Advanced Space plans to show how the CAPSTONE cubesat can work with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to perform peer-to-peer navigation.
Our recent award from NASA caught the attention of our local news, who said “it’s one small step to help bring man back to the moon, but a giant leap forward for the Colorado company and the state’s role in space exploration.”
NASA has awarded a $13.7 million contract to Advanced Space of Boulder, Colorado, to develop and operate a CubeSat mission to the same lunar orbit targeted for Gateway – an orbiting outpost astronauts will visit before descending to the surface of the Moon in a landing system as part of NASA’s Artemis program.