NASA canceled plans to launch Small Cubes to the moon on Monday June 27 to allow more time to see the flight’s Rocket Lab thruster.
The US space agency announced today that it will no longer focus on Monday’s launch of the new rocket CAPSTONE Cubes To the moon on an electronic booster made by rocket lab† The mission, led by Advanced Space Corporation, was scheduled to launch at 06:00 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT) Monday from a platform on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula.
“NASA, Rocket Lab and Advanced Space have withdrawn from the June 27 launch attempt of the CAPSTONE mission to the moon to allow Rocket Lab to perform final checks on the systems,” NASA officials wrote. In the June 26 update (Opens in a new tab)† “Teams are evaluating weather and other factors to determine the date for the next launch attempt.”
The next possible launch date for microwave-sized CAPSTONE is Tuesday, June 28, but NASA and its partners can launch the mission anytime before July 27 and still guarantee cubes It will reach the moon on November 13, the agency said. the mission It has been postponed several times Since 2021, first due to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and later due to the need for further testing on Cubesat and its Rocket Lab booster.
CAPSTONE, or Cislunar Autonomous GPS Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, is a small 25 kg spacecraft designed to test a new orbit around the moon called Near the trail of the right halo† The orbit, which follows a highly elliptical path around the moon, is the same orbit that NASA hopes to use in its timeline. space station gate for astronauts under the Artemis program.
As part of the mission, CAPSTONE will be launched into the Missile Laboratory electron amplifier and use the company’s Photon Theater to travel to the moon. This is Rocket Lab’s first mission with Photon.
If all goes well, CAPSTONE will detach from its Photon ride six days after launch and slowly make its way to the moon in about four months. Once it reaches its final orbit, the spacecraft is expected to spend at least six months conducting navigation and communications experiments as part of its $30 million mission. It will fly within 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of the moon and up to 43,500 miles (70,000 km) of the lunar surface.
“The next launch opportunity in the current period is June 28,” NASA officials wrote in the update. “CAPSTONE’s trajectory design means the spacecraft will orbit the moon on November 13, regardless of its launch date during the current period, providing launch opportunities every day until July 27. “
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