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General Studies 3 >> Science & Technology

CAPSTONE

CAPSTONE

 
NASA launched the CAPSTONE-new satellite which will test unique lunar orbit for future missions
 
CAPSTONE:
A microwave oven-sized Cubesat weighing just 25kgs.It is designed to test a unique elliptical lunar orbit
CAPSTONE- Cislunar autonomous positioning system technology operations and navigation experiment 
The satellite launched on Rocket Lab's electron rocket from rocket launch complex 1, it is heading towards an orbit intended in future for the gateway, a moon orbiting outpost that is part of NASA's Artemis Program
Important Points:
  • CAPSTONE aims to help reduce the risk for future spacecraft by validating innovative navigation technologies, and by verifying the dynamics of the halo-shaped orbit
  • The orbit is known as the near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) 
  • It is significantly elongated and is located at a precise balance point in the gravities of Earth and Moon
  • This offers stability on long-term missions like Gateway
  • At the moon CAPSTONE enter NRHO, in which it will fly within 1600km of the North pole on its near pass and 70,000 km from the South pole at its farthest
  • The spacecraft will repeat the cycle every six and half days and maintain this orbit for at least six months to study dynamics
  • CAPSTONE will gain experience with small dedicated launches of Cubesat beyond low earth orbit, to the moon, and beyond 
  • The spacecraft is currently in low earth orbit, it is attached to Rocket Lab's Lunar Planet
 

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