The NASA CAPSTONE mission was scheduled to launch today, but was delayed. Here’s what NASA said about the CAPSTONE launch to the Moon.
Bad News. NASA’s CAPSTONE mission has just been delayed! As per schedule, the CAPSTONE mission was to be launched today, June 27. It was planned to be mounted on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand. The launch has been delayed to allow more time for its Rocket Lab booster to be tested for flight. The mission has been delayed several times since 2021. Previously, it was due to issues with the COVID-19 pandemic and now, NASA delayed it due to the need for more investigations on the Rocket Lab booster.
“NASA, Rocket Lab and Advanced Space Rocket Lab stand down from the June 27 launch effort of the Capstone mission to the Moon to allow the final systems investigation to be performed,” NASA said in its latest statement. However, it is also mentioned that the teams are evaluating weather and other factors to determine the date of the next launch attempt. Within the current period, the next launch opportunity is expected on June 28.
What is the NASA CAPSTONE mission?
CAPSTONE (Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment) is a small 25-kilogram spacecraft designed to test a path around the Moon called Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit, as never before. has been flown. NASA explained that “the destination for this microwave oven-sized CubeSat is a near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO). The same orbit is planned for Gateway as part of the agency’s Artemis program for long-term lunar missions.” It is a multipurpose post.”
If all goes well, six days after launch, the Photon upper stage will release CAPSTONE into space for the first part of the spacecraft’s solo flight in four months. Then, the capstone will test NRHO’s mobility for at least six months, performing navigation and communications experiments to reduce the risk of future spacecraft.
The mission will also establish innovative spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation technology and one-way ranging capabilities. This could help future spacecraft fly near the Moon without the need for communication with Earth. The launch has been delayed, but NASA confirmed that the spacecraft will reach its lunar orbit on November 13, 2022, regardless of the launch date within the current period.