CAPSTONE Mission is acknowledged for cutting-edge efforts of recent and ongoing technical innovation for Small Satellites
Have you heard? We won Small Satellite Mission of the Year! It’s been a long journey from concept to launch, and we still have quite a journey ahead of us as we continue to the Moon, but CAPSTONE could not have gone so far without the support of our community. (more…)
Congratulations KPLO on yesterday’s launch! We’ll see you out there!
CAPSTONE will be leading KPLO by around 1 month on its way to the Moon. As more missions head to the Moon, safety and transparency are key. We are working with partners to make sure operations in cislunar space are sustainable for the long term.
A few of our team members are attending the 2022 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference next week in Charlotte, North Carolina. We invite you to listen to their work being presented, some of which demonstrates great collaboration and support from the NASA Gateway Program. Reach out and learn ways we may support your needs. We look forward to connecting with you. (more…)
Spacecraft remains on target to test navigation technology and lunar operations to support NASA’s Moon missions under Artemis programs
It is hard to believe we launched CAPSTONE almost a month ago. We have encountered many variables that have kept this mission exciting, and the mission operators have been active. The Advanced Space Astrodynamics and Navigation Engineers have been busy for years leading up to this and just as busy this last month as CAPSTONE flies. An assumption may be that a small satellite means less work but in actuality the effort is just as great if not more so. Small satellites with small budgets and size restrictions require more creativity and calculated steps to ensure precision and execution through the process. (more…)
CAPSTONE achieved another positive milestone today after the spacecraft executed the second scheduled trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) today at approximately 9:30 am MT. The spacecraft burn was relatively small as it consumed ~35 grams of fuel. The purpose of the maneuver completes the corrective actions of the spacecraft separation from the Lunar Photon – a necessary and routine step to ensure the transfer trajectory remains on track. Even though this was a small maneuver, this further validates the spacecraft design, which was optimized for precise orbital operations. (more…)
The CAPSTONE mission team has rescheduled the trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) originally targeting for this morning to review additional data and perform additional analysis to support modeling of the spacecraft performance during maneuvers. The rescheduled plan does not have any significant impact on the size of the planned correction maneuver which was part of the of TCM executed two days prior. The spacecraft is healthy, communicating with NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) and in a nominal state. (more…)
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…)