NASA’s tiny CAPSTONE mission continuing to moon as team works communications glitch

Operators lost contact with the moon-bound CAPSTONE satellite yesterday (July 5) after completing a set of initial tasks following its separation from the rocket upper stage.

CAPSTONE (short for “Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment”) launched from New Zealand atop Rocket Lab‘s Electron rocket on June 28. On Monday (July 4), the mission announced the rocket’s Photon satellite bus successfully released the CAPSTONE spacecraft after sending it off on a trajectory toward the moon. Only 11 hours later, bad news arrived as the spacecraft, which is meant to test out an experimental orbit that NASA wants to use for its future Gateway lunar space station, inexplicably went silent. 



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