The Small Businesses Behind CAPSTONE Are Paving Our Path to the Moon

CAPSTONE in orbit around the moon. (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — The upcoming Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) mission will be the first spacecraft to fly a unique orbit around the Moon that will be used for Gateway, NASA’s future Moon-orbiting outpost. Gateway is an international collaboration working with commercial partners to establish a long-term human presence in deep space. Similarly, CAPSTONE – a mission owned and operated by Advanced Space, LLC in Westminster, Colorado – is made possible by collaborations with small businesses across the country, showing how NASA works with innovators in its future exploration endeavors.

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NASA Sets Live Launch Coverage for CAPSTONE Mission to Moon

CAPSTONE (Credit: Terran Orbital)

NASA Mission Update

NASA will air live launch coverage of the agency’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE), the first spacecraft to fly a specific unique lunar orbit ahead of future missions with crew.

CAPSTONE is targeted to launch no earlier than Monday, June 27, aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand. The instantaneous launch opportunity is at 6 a.m. EDT (10:00 UTC). Live coverage will begin at 5 a.m. on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

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Rocket Lab Launch of CAPSTONE Mission Delayed

A project funded by NASA’s Small Business Technology Transfer program could help improve the efficiency of solar cells for space missions and use on Earth. Here, a team member installs solar panels onto the CAPSTONE spacecraft – short for Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment – before its launch to the Moon. (Image Credit: NASA/Dominic Hart)

NASA Mission Update

NASA, Rocket Lab, and Advanced Space are no longer targeting June 13 for the launch of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, or CAPSTONE, mission to the Moon. Flight software is being updated. A revised schedule will be provided as soon as possible.

Since arriving in New Zealand, CAPSTONE was successfully fueled and integrated with the Lunar Photon upper stage by teams from Rocket Lab, Terran Orbital, and Stellar Exploration. CAPSTONE and Photon have been encapsulated in the payload fairing.

Advanced Space Completes Milestone Testing for its Mission to the Moon

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

Mission will be the first to future Artemis Operation Orbit

WESTMINSTER, Colo., Feb. 18, 2022 (Advanced Space PR) — Advanced Space LLC., a leading commercial space tech solutions company, had a successful test last week for CAPSTONE, a NASA-funded mission to the Moon. Advanced Space owns and operates the CAPSTONE mission, a trailblazing pathfinder for the Gateway. The Gateway, a lunar orbiting outpost, will support NASA’s Artemis missions that will establish a long-term human presence at the Moon. CAPSTONE is the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment. It will help reduce risk for future spacecraft by validating innovative technologies and verifying the dynamics of the Earth-Moon halo orbit where the Gateway will operate.

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CAPSTONE’s CubeSat Prepares for Lunar Flight

The CAPSTONE team performs the full mission rehearsal of the propulsion hardware, with the qualification unit located in middle of the test stand. First, the propulsion tank is fueled with hydrazine propellant which requires the specialized protection for the operator (Level A encapsulated suits provide breathing and vapor protection for the Stellar engineers, Andrew Carlson and Sean Liston). Once the tank is filled with propellant, the full mission sequence is executed using the simulated satellite avionics and software. (Credits: Stellar Exploration)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Small spacecraft will play a big role in lunar exploration, including a Moon-bound CubeSat launching later this year.

The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, or CAPSTONE, mission team is making the final preparations for the spacecraft that will make CubeSat history over a series of technological and operational firsts for the small platform. 

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Innovative Propulsion System Gets Ready to Help Study Moon Orbit for Artemis

CAPSTONE’s propulsion system undergoes environmental testing. Environmental testing ensures that spacecraft systems can operate after being launched into space and in the space environment. (Credits: Stellar Exploration Inc.)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — In 2021, NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, or CAPSTONE, CubeSat will launch to a never-before-used cislunar orbit near the Moon.

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Rocket Lab Readies Photon Spacecraft for NASA Moon Mission

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

The CAPSTONE mission will see Rocket Lab extend its reach far beyond Earth orbit for the first time to deploy an in-house designed and built Photon spacecraft to the Moon.

Long Beach, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab has reached a key milestone ahead of the company’s first launch to the Moon, with spacecraft qualification underway for the Photon spacecraft that will transport a NASA satellite into a unique lunar orbit that no other spacecraft has explored before.

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NASA to Work with Industry to Mature Green Propulsion, Advanced Materials, Space Robots and More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 17 U.S. companies for 20 partnerships to mature industry-developed space technologies for the Moon and beyond through the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s 2020 Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity (ACO).

The selected proposals are relevant to technology topic areas outlined in the solicitation, including cryogenic fluid management and propulsion; advanced propulsion; sustainable power; in-situ propellant and consumable production; intelligent/resilient systems and advanced robotics; advanced materials and structures; entry, descent, and landing; and small spacecraft technologies.

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New NASA Partnerships to Mature Commercial Space Technologies, Capabilities

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected  17 U.S. companies for 20 partnerships to mature industry-developed space technologies for the Moon and beyond. The NASA and industry teams will design a 3D printing system for NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program, test a simple method for removing dust from planetary solar arrays, mature a first-stage rocket recovery system for a small satellite launch provider, and more.

Various NASA centers will work with the companies, ranging from small businesses and large aerospace companies to a previous NASA challenge winner, to provide expertise and access to the agency’s unique testing facilities. The partnerships aim to accelerate the development of emerging space capabilities.

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