NASA reportedly loses contact with moon probe and in the process delays its trajectory correction maneuver. Capstone which is a spacecraft the size of a microwave is meant to see the trail for future Artemis missions to the lunar surface.
NASA Reportedly Loses Contact with Moon Probe
In regards to NASAs Capstone mission which is to go to the lunar orbit, everything was right on track after the reported microwave-sized spacecraft launched atop a rocket lab electron booster on June 28. And on Monday, the probe successfully was deployed from a photon upper stage and then sent in the direction of the moon.
After that, the spacecraft immediately stopped communications with/to earth. At the moment, engineers in NASA are working on re-establishing contact with the computers of Capstone.
NASA’s Official Statement in Regards to the Incident
A statement from NASA states ‘Following successful deployment and the start of spacecraft commissioning on July 4, the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) spacecraft experienced communications issues while in contact with the Deep Space Network.’
Capstone right now is supposed to make use of its very own propulsion system in navigating to the moon where it will then attempt to enter a new type of orbit surrounding the moon that is halo-shaped now that it is on its own and without rocket lab chaperones.
The Craft Is Following the Same Route as NASA’s Next Lunar Gateway
It is reported that the craft is trying out the same orbit to be used by NASA’s next and upcoming lunar gateway. This will serve as an orbiting outpost for Artemis astronauts paying a visit to the surface of the moon later in this decade.
NASA has said that the capstone is conveying enough fuel and that its initial navigation maneuvers can easily be postponed for a couple of days while the mission controllers work to try re-establishing contact with the spacecraft.
Capstone Has Pinged Two of NASA’s Ground Station
A subsequent update from NASA has shown that the capstone has pinged two of NASA’s ground stations which are in Madrid, Spain, and the other in Goldstone California.
With this very piece of information, NASA was able to determine the approximate position and velocity in space of the probe. The agency however notes that its first trajectory correction maneuver has now been delayed.