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Friday, October 07, 2022

NASA’s Pathfinder loses communication on its way to test capstone lunar orbit

NASA Capstone Mission: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has lost communication with the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) spacecraft that is headed to the Moon to test an unusual or uniaxial lunar orbit. It was successfully launched from New Zealand on 28 June and after exiting Earth’s orbit began on 4 July with its solo journey to the Moon. Nonetheless, the agency’s engineers are confident in re-establishing the connection and communicating with the more than $30 million spacecraft.

According to NASA’s Artemis blog, the spacecraft successfully deployed the solar arrays, stabilized, and began charging its onboard batteries. It further stated that “As a result of communication issues, Capstone’s first trajectory correction maneuver – originally scheduled for the morning of July 5 – has been delayed. designed to improve.”

The spacecraft, launched on June 28, had already spent a week in Earth orbit before losing contact on its onward journey to the Moon.

NASA also revealed that “the spacecraft team is currently working to understand the cause and to re-establish contact. The team has a first full and second partial ground station with the Deep Space Network at the base of the pass.” There is good trajectory data for the vehicle. The mission has enough fuel to delay the initial post separation trajectory correction maneuver for several days, if necessary.

It is an extremely paramount mission through which the International Space Agency also seeks to establish its gateway or an outpost that can facilitate a point from which astronauts can land on the lunar surface.

As a sigh of relief amid rising tensions with communication issues, CAPSTONE is said to carry enough fuel to navigate its maneuvers until contact is re-established. If all goes well, CAPSTONE is ready to spend the next four months trying to put the Moon into orbit and move the mission forward. This pathfinder will reach lunar orbit by November 13.

NASA also intends to build a moonbase for its future missions to Mars.

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