This is turning out to be a particularly busy year for flights to the moon, with commercial companies and universities taking leading roles. Let’s look at the status of spacecraft that are at, headed for, or being prepared for launch to our nearest celestial neighbor.
The satellite is flying a historic pathfinding mission to the Moon in support of NASA’s Artemis program
BOCA Raton, Fla., (Terran Orbital Corporation PR) – Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP), a global leader in satellite solutions, primarily serving the United States and Allied aerospace and defense industries, is humbled to share in the Mission of the Year Award presented to the CAPSTONE mission team at the Small Satellite Conference. Competition entrants were chosen for their ability to demonstrate a significant improvement in the capability of satellites, spacecraft structural design, scientific instrument development, and communications capabilities. The contest was informed by the public and administered by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Small Spacecraft Technical Committee. CAPSTONE topped ten other highly technical satellites to win the award.
Powered by 33 flights of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster, the United States leads all nations with 48 launch attempts through the first seven months of the year. The total is three short of the number of U.S. launches attempted last year, and far ahead of the 27 launches conducted by second place China through the end of July. The U.S. has conducted more launches than the 43 flights conducted by the rest of the world combined.
A number of notable flights were conducted. SpaceX launched two Crew Dragons to the International Space Station (ISS), including the first fully privately funded mission to the orbiting laboratory. United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched Boeing’s CST-100 Starship crew vehicle on an automated flight test to ISS, a crucial step before astronauts to fly on the spacecraft. Small satellite launch provider Rocket Lab conducted its first deep-space mission by sending a spacecraft the size of a microwave to the moon.
CAMBRIDGE, MA (Draper PR) — Draper, a company with a heritage in space exploration from the earliest stages of Apollo to the most recent Artemis awards, announced that NASA has awarded Draper $73 million to deliver a suite of three NASA-sponsored science payloads to the Schrödinger basin on the lunar surface. Schrödinger basin is on the far side of the Moon—a first for NASA.
The NASA Artemis program satellite is charting a new path to the Moon
BOCA RATON, Fla. (Terran Orbital Corporation PR) — Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP), a global leader in satellite solutions, primarily serving the United States and Allied aerospace and defense industries, today announced the successful completion of CAPSTONE’s first TCM burn (TCM-1). As the first statistical maneuver of the mission, TCM-1 is designed to clean up expected dispersions from the launch vehicle injection – enabling CAPSTONE to continue its pathfinding lunar journey in support of NASA’s Artemis program.
BOCA RATON, Fla. (Terran Orbital Corporation PR) — Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP), a global leader in satellite solutions, primarily serving the United States and Allied aerospace and defense industries, today announced the successful deployment of the CAPSTONE spacecraft from a Rocket Lab Lunar Photon into a Lunar Transfer Orbit. Terran Orbital designed, built, and integrated Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, otherwise known as CAPSTONE, and is flying a pathfinding mission to the moon in support of NASA’s historic Artemis program. With deployment complete, Terran Orbital will now commence the satellite’s mission operations. CAPSTONE is owned and operated by Advanced Space on behalf of NASA.
WESTMINSTER, Colo. (Advanced Space PR) — 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.
Advanced Space and NASA have announced that controllers have reestablished communications with the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) spacecraft, which is currently on its way to the moon. The spacecraft is looking happy and healthy. Details to follow,” Advanced Space tweeted. No information was released on what caused CAPSTONE to lose contact with Earth. Advanced Space developed and is operating the spacecraft, which will test […]
WESTMINSTER, Colo. (Advanced Space PR) — On July 4, 2022, CAPSTONE (Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment) separated successfully from the launch vehicle and is heading to the Moon on behalf on NASA. The Advanced Space Operations Center and the Mission Operations Center at Terran Orbital are in full swing beginning mission operations, the DSN, and mission partners. We are proud of the hard work the operations team has been doing.
During commissioning activities an anomaly was experienced related to the communication subsystem; the operations team is actively working this issue with the Deep Space Network and determining the best next steps.
The CAPSTONE satellite launched last week to orbit the Moon is having difficulty communicating with controllers on the ground, NASA said in a mission update.
Following successful deployment and start of spacecraft commissioning on July 4, the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) spacecraft experienced communications issues while in contact with the Deep Space Network. The spacecraft team currently is working to understand the cause and re-establish contact. The team has good trajectory data for the spacecraft based on the first full and second partial ground station pass with the Deep Space Network. If needed, the mission has enough fuel to delay the initial post separation trajectory correction maneuver for several days. Additional updates will be provided as soon as possible.