Days after launching from New Zealand, the mission to the Moon dealt a brief blow to NASA when it failed to communicate in the darkness of space. But not for long, and communication is re-established.
The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) mission experienced communication problems while in contact with the Deep Space Network.
After launch, the spacecraft successfully deployed the solar arrays, stabilized, and began charging its onboard batteries and made initial contact with the DSN Ground Station in Madrid, Spain, followed by the Goldstone Ground Station in California. Partial contact with
“From these contacts, mission operators were able to determine the approximate position and velocity of the capstone in space,” NASA said in a statement.
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The US space agency has said that data obtained from the spacecraft shows that the spacecraft is in good health and operates safely on its own when out of contact with Earth.
Ground-based testing showed that the problem arose during the commissioning activities of the communication system. NASA said, “The capstone team is still actively working to fully establish the root cause of this issue. The team will continue to evaluate the data leading up to the communications issue and monitor the status of the capstone.” “
The mission’s latest contact showed that the spacecraft was in the expected location, as predicted based on data from the capstone’s initial contacts on July 4. The team began the recovery process and began receiving telemetry data from the spacecraft.
The Capstone mission is preparing the spacecraft’s first trajectory correction maneuver that will more accurately target Capstone’s transfer orbit to the Moon.
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The mission will serve as the first spacecraft to test a unique, elliptical lunar orbit and serve as a pathfinder for Gateway, a moon-orbiting outpost part of the Artemis program. Will serve as the first spacecraft to test a unique, elliptical lunar orbit and serve as a pathfinder for Gateway, a moon-orbiting outpost part of the Artemis program.
The spacecraft will use a dedicated payload flight computer and radio to perform calculations to determine where the CubeSat is in its orbital path and use the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has been hovering over the Moon since 2009, as its reference point. will use
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