Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Launch of NASA's CAPSTONE Moon Mission | Rocket Lab

Launch of NASA's CAPSTONE Moon Mission | Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab has successfully launched NASA's CAPSTONE (Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment) satellite to the Moon aboard their Electron rocket. Liftoff occurred at 5:55 AM EDT (09:55 UTC) on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, from Launch Complex 1B at Rocket Lab’s launch facility on Māhia Peninsula, New Zealand. This mission made Electron the smallest rocket to launch a payload toward the Moon and the first lunar flight to lift off from New Zealand. The second stage of the Electron placed the payload in an initial low Earth orbit. To propel the 25 kg (55 lbs) CubeSat to the moon, Rocket Lab’s Lunar Photon—optimized especially for Lunar missions—will give the payload the extra thrust needed to get it to the Moon. Powered by green-hypergolic propellants, its onboard Hypercurie engine will place the CAPSTONE satellite on a ballistic lunar transfer orbit. Once in the vicinity of the Moon, the CAPSTONE satellite will use its onboard propulsion systems to place itself in a Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit around it.

This is the first mission to launch that directly supports NASA’s Artemis program.

Like Gateway, CAPSTONE continues the tradition of NASA's commercial partnerships, including American small businesses. The spacecraft was built and tested by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc., a Terran Orbital Corporation in Irvine, California, operated by Advanced Space, and was launched by Rocket Lab of Long Beach, California.

Learn more: https://www.nasa.gov/capstone

Image Credit: Rocket Lab

Caption Credit: NASASpaceflight.com

Capture Date: June 28, 2022

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