Tech UPTechnologyNASA launches Capstone, the spacecraft that will facilitate the...

NASA launches Capstone, the spacecraft that will facilitate the return to the Moon

Capstone ( Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment) is a microwave-sized, less than 25-kilogram CubeSat that represents the first step in NASA’s Artemis mission to return humans to the lunar surface for the first time. time in 50 years.

“The launch was absolutely fantastic,” said Bradley Smith, director of NASA’s Office of Launch Services, who was on hand for the nightly lunar launch.

way to the moon

For six months, Capstone will test the stability of a halo-shaped orbit around the moon before this orbit is used by the Lunar Gateway, the US space agency’s planned lunar outpost.

Gateway will be a small space station that will serve as a base for manned expeditions to the Moon and Mars. It will not orbit the Earth or the Moon , but rather a point in empty space at a Lagrange point where the gravitational pull of the Moon and Earth balance each other, such as the L2 point at which the James Webb Space Telescope is located.

That is, the Gateway space station would not be located at the Lagrange point, but instead circle it every six and a half days in a complex 3D orbit called a Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO) that would take it 1,600 km from the North Pole of the Moon at its closest pass and 70,000 km from the South Pole at its furthest point as it traces a path like a lopsided halo.


Capstone will fire its own thrusters occasionally over the next several months, keeping it on an efficient, low-energy trajectory toward the moon. The cubesat’s trajectory will take it as far as 1.3 million kilometers from Earth, more than three times the distance between Earth and the Moon , before gravity pulls it back.

The spacecraft will orbit this area around the moon for at least six months to understand “orbit characteristics,” according to NASA, before the space agency deliberately crashes it on the lunar surface.

As a curiosity, NASA has not designed or built this spacecraft, nor will it operate it. The agency doesn’t even own it. Capstone is owned by Advanced Space, a 45-employee company outside of Denver. Advance Space ‘s contract with NASA for Capstone, signed in 2019, cost 20 million dollars (about 19 million euros).

Come November, Capstone will be inserted into a near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) around the moon, data from which will help Gateway lunar outpost planners. The first Artemis landing mission, currently scheduled for 2025, which is likely to be delayed, will not use the Gateway, but subsequent missions will.

Reference: NASA

Slaves and Disabled: Forced Medical Test Volunteers

The main problem to carry out medical research is to have willing volunteers for it. And if they come out for free, much better. This is the story of unethical behavior in medical research.

How are lightning created?

Summer is synonymous with sun, but also with storms. Who has not contemplated one from the protection that the home gives that electrical display that is lightning?

How global warming will affect astronomy

Astronomical observations around the world will worsen in quality as a result of climate change, according to a new study.

New images of Saturn's rings in stunning detail

New images of Saturn's rings in stunning detail

NASA discovers more than 50 areas that emit exorbitant levels of greenhouse gases

NASA's 'EMIT' spectrometer locates has targeted Central Asia, the Middle East and the US among others.