As we wrap up an active week for CAPSTONE, and happy to report the spacecraft is healthy and everything is operating nominally. We want to give a big thank you to everyone involved. To Rocket Lab, thank you for the launch and successful separation from Photon. To NASA, NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN), Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL), thank you for the support during our troubleshooting and resolution. And a big thanks to our teams at Terran Orbital’s Mission Operations Center, NASA’s DSN, and our own team in our Advanced Space Operations Center. Plus, we appreciate the well wishes from customers, industry partners and friends. (more…)
Commercially Owned Mission Supports Human Return to the Moon with Microwave-sized Spacecraft
Westminster, CO (July 7, 2022) Advanced Space LLC., a leading space tech solutions company, announced today that CAPSTONE – the spacecraft heading to the Moon for NASA – is healthy after successfully performing its first trajectory correction maneuver. This maneuver is a significant milestone for the mission as it represents the first of many maneuvers the spacecraft will conduct during the mission. The propulsion system is specifically optimized for precise maneuvers such as this. This maneuver is similar in size to the critical Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO) Insertion Maneuver which will be conducted at the Moon on November 13th and thus serves as a test from which the team will learn to improve future operations. At time of execution, the spacecraft was approximately 465,000 km from the Earth (~13 times further than the GEO belt and ~81,000 km further than the Moon). The spacecraft had lost communications a couple of days ago, but the operations teams effectively and efficiently worked to resolve the issue and communication was restored approximately 43 hours after it was unexpectedly interrupted. The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment or CAPSTONE, began its solo journey to the Moon on July 4th as the first launch supporting Artemis missions. Advanced Space leads the CAPSTONE mission for NASA and is the first commercial and privately-owned spacecraft mission to the Moon. The microwave-sized CubeSat will verify and demonstrate operations within a unique and groundbreaking cislunar orbit that will support NASA’s Moon missions under Artemis. Further, the mission will demonstrate a novel spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation technology service called the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System (CAPS) developed and implemented by Advanced Space. (more…)
At approximately 9:30 AM MT this morning, the CAPSTONE spacecraft successfully executed its first trajectory correction maneuver on its way to the Moon and the spacecraft is in a healthy state.
This maneuver is the first statistical maneuver of the mission meaning it is designed to clean up expected dispersions from the launch vehicle injection and does not change the baseline transfer approach or timing of arrival at the Moon on November 13th. Operations on the Ballistic Lunar Transfer and in Earth-Moon three-body orbits (such as Near Rectilinear Halo Orbits or NRHOs) require precise maneuvers and knowledge of the spacecraft state (position and velocity). The CAPSTONE propulsion system was specifically designed and optimized for these precise maneuvers and the navigation system was built from the ground up to be efficient and scalable. All of this is supported by a uniquely qualified team of flight dynamics experts at Advanced Space with specialized focus on operations in cislunar space and multi-body orbital operations. (more…)
Over the last 24 hours, the CAPSTONE mission team has worked together to narrow down the likely cause of the communications systems anomaly discussed yesterday. The integrated mission team took time and care to work the problem, gaining information from various data sources, working with ground-based hardware to evaluate behavior in a controlled environment, and working to resolve the problem systematically. This work has included rapid engineering support and resources from many different mission partners. We are extremely grateful for this team effort and want to express our appreciation to all of those involved. (more…)
On July 4, 2022, CAPSTONE (Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment) separated successfully from the launch vehicle and is heading to the Moon on behalf on NASA. The Advanced Space Operations Center and the Mission Operations Center at Terran Orbital are in full swing beginning mission operations with the DSN and mission partners. We are proud of the hard work the operations team has been doing. (more…)