Advanced Space Recovers Communications with CAPSTONE Spacecraft

Illustration of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE). (Credit: Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems)

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (Advanced Space PR) — Over the last 24 hours, the CAPSTONE mission team has worked together to narrow down the likely cause of the communications systems anomaly discussed yesterday. The integrated mission team took time and care to work the problem, gaining information from various data sources, working with ground-based hardware to evaluate behavior in a controlled environment, and working to resolve the problem systematically.  This work has included rapid engineering support and resources from many different mission partners. We are extremely grateful for this team effort and want to express our appreciation to all of those involved.

As of approximately 7:26 AM MT this morning, the operations team began receiving signal from the spacecraft. The signal confirmed the location of the spacecraft and was consistent with the predictions generated from the initial acquisition activities. The team worked subsequent recovery procedures to obtain telemetry from the spacecraft at approximately 8:18 AM MT and initial indications suggest the spacecraft systems are functioning properly. 

  • The mission operations team has continued with this work throughout the day and is confident based on telemetry that the spacecraft is healthy and functioning as expected.
  • Initial data from the spacecraft suggests that it is happy and healthy and performed autonomously during the time it did not have communications from the ground including remaining properly pointed, maintaining battery charge, and conducting a momentum desaturation maneuver.
  • After confirming the system is back to operational capacity, the team has generated updated navigation solutions and a new state estimate and future prediction has been delivered. This provides the needed information for the team to design an updated trajectory correction maneuver which is currently being reviewed with a planned execution on the satellite tomorrow morning at approximately 9:30 AM MT.

Through the work over the last day, the team has high confidence that the issue has been cleared and through changes to the configuration and operations it will not happen again. As we finalize the review of this root cause analysis with appropriate parties, we will release more information. The mission operations team focus is now transitioning to the first trajectory correction maneuver. 

This is still a very dynamic situation and as things progress, we will share further updates and corrections as appropriate.

Up next on the schedule of exciting milestones for CAPSTONE is the execution of the updated Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM-1) tomorrow no earlier than 9:30am MT.