The NASA satellite named CAPSTONE (Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment), which is the size of a microwave, has indeed left Earth orbit. The mini-satellite is now beginning its journey to the Moon. He will not reach it before November.
After more than half a century, NASA plans to walk on the moon again. During Apollo, the agency spent a lot of resources on fuel, which is why they are looking for new, cheaper ways for the trip. Hence the sending of CAPSTONE to explore a new orbit around the Moon and therefore a new path.
NASA will attempt to place CAPSTONE in a new orbit, the Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit abbreviated as NRHO. This is a feat that has never been attempted, which is why this mission plays a role of scout and key mission.
The satellite was launched in the morning last week from New Zealand on a small rocket named Electron. CAPSTONE accumulated speed while ascending to orbit for six days. Now it is heading for the Moon. Despite the fact that this exploration will make it possible to experiment with a new path to bring humans back to the Moon once again and this by spending less, the counterpart is that it will be much slower.
The Artemis Mission
NASA’s Artemis program will bring more and more women and people of color into its future lunar journeys. The agency also wants to build a new space station bearing the name of Gateway, and for that it wants to use the new orbit on which CAPSTONE is heading to park the gateway. But that mission won’t launch until at least 2024.
Still on this famous mission, NASA has targeted a date for its launch. It seems that it will be between August 23 and September 6. The first step is to send an uncrewed module around the Moon that will assess the impacts of travel on the human body. A successful wet launch refueling test for Artemis the previous month. Everything seems to be off to a good start for NASA regarding its project to bring humans back to the Moon once again.