Credit: Terran Orbital Corporation

All remains well and stable for NASA’s CAPSTONE mission to the Moon.

The CAPSTONE mission team conducted a successful planned trajectory correction maneuver (TCM). TCM-4 took place at 12:25 PM EDT last Thursday.

This was the first TCM since a thruster valve anomaly after TCM-3 on Sept. 8th.

The craft remains on the orbit path to the near-rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) insertion maneuver (NIM) on Nov. 13th (14 days from today).

CAPSTONE team members install solar panels onto the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment – at Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems Inc. in Irvine, California.
Credits: NASA/Dominic Hart

Maneuver telemetry

For the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) mission, Colorado-based Advanced Space designed the mission orbits, oversaw the design and manufacture of the hardware, and is performing flight dynamics operations.

Maneuver telemetry shows that the spacecraft propulsion system fired for the nominal duration of approximately 220 seconds.

LRO link

CAPSTONE was launched on June 28th of last year.

CAPSTONE over the Moon’s North Pole. After arrival at its cis-lunar destination, CAPSTONE will begin its 6-month-long primary mission. The mission will validate a near rectilinear halo orbit’s characteristics by demonstrating how to enter into and operate in the orbit.
Illustration credit: NASA/Daniel Rutter

Recently, the Deep Space Network performed a test with the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbit (LRO) now circling the Moon to confirm that it could receive and return the signal CAPSTONE will be using to interact with the spacecraft as part of its Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System (CAPS) software demonstrations once it slips into its NRHO.

The LRO test was successful.

Onboard camera

CAPSTONE also carries a camera that will be used to collect images for a variety of applications including planned optical navigation experiments, Advanced Space told Inside Outer Space.

Jeffrey Parker, chief technology officer of Advanced Space (left) explains the CAPSTONE mission to U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper over a full-size model of the spacecraft.
Credit: Advanced Space/Jason Johnson

“The mission operations team has a priority list of items to work which obviously focused on resolving the anomaly and achieving the NRHO in 13 days. Beyond the core flight operations, the team has been working to commission subsystem in a priority order that includes the dedicated flight computer for CAPS software demonstrations and the S-band radio for cross-link with LRO,” Advanced Space said. “Those commissioning activities are still ongoing (delayed by the anomaly resolution process) and once we finish the check-out of those systems, we will be scheduling time to commission the camera.”

For more information on CAPSTONE and Advanced Space, go to:

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