NASA’s CAPSTONE satellite leaves Earth orbit and heads for the Moon

The grand plan to bring humans back to the moon for the first time in over half a century has taken another step forward. The 55-pounder (Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment) has broken free from Earth orbit and is on its way to the Moon.

launched CAPSTONE on an Electron rocket last week. After six days of climbing into orbit to build up enough speed, the orientation satellite headed for the Moon. It’s a relatively slow trip, though. CAPSTONE will not reach the Moon until November.

NASA will attempt to place CAPSTONE in a near rectilinear orbit around the Moon, a feat that has never been attempted before. The agency plans to use the same orbit for the , which will provide support for long-term lunar missions under the program. The outpost will have living quarters for the astronauts and a laboratory. This mission will not be launched until at least 2024.

In the meantime, NASA has targeted a launch window between August 23 and September 6 for the Artemis 1 mission. It will send an uncrewed module around the Moon to assess how the journey might affect the human body. . The agency hosted one for Artemis 1 in June.

About Travis Durham

Check Also

Science News Roundup: New NASA moon rocket tested in hurricane-force winds on Florida launch pad; COP27: Israel harnesses DNA from past wild crops to improve food supply and more

Here is a summary of current scientific news. NASA’s new moon rocket tested in …