NASA has canceled plans to launch a small cube satellite to the moon on Monday, June 27, to allow more time to check the Rocket Lab booster for flight.
The US space agency announced today that it is no longer targeting a Monday launch for the new spacecraft. CAPSTONE cube to the moon with an Electron booster built by rocket lab. The mission, led by the company Advanced Space, was scheduled to launch at 6 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT) on Monday from a pad on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.
“NASA, Rocket Lab and Advanced Space are withdrawing from the June 27 launch attempt for the CAPSTONE mission. moon NASA officials to allow Rocket Lab to conduct final system checks In the June 26 update (opens in new tab). “Crews are evaluating weather and other factors to determine the date of the next launch attempt.”
Related: NASA’s CAPSTONE lunar mission to go where no cubesat has gone before
The next possible launch date for the microwave-sized CAPSTONE is Tuesday, June 28, but NASA and its partners can launch the mission any time before July 27 and still sell cube reaches the moon on November 13, the agency said. Task delayed many times Since 2021, first due to issues with the COVID-19 pandemic and then the need for greater control over the cubesat and Rocket Lab booster.
CAPSTONE, or the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, is a small 55-pound (25-kilogram) spacecraft designed to test a new way around the moon. linear halo close to orbit. The orbit, which follows a highly elliptical path around the moon, is the orbit NASA hopes to use as planned. gateway space station For astronauts as part of the Artemis program.
As part of the mission, CAPSTONE will be launched in a Rocket Lab. electron booster and use the company’s Photon stage to help move towards the moon. This is Rocket Lab’s first deep space mission with Photon.
If all goes well, CAPSTONE will leave the Photon voyage six days after launch and will slowly set out for 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 as close as 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) to the Moon and 43,500 miles (70,000 km) from the lunar surface.
“The next launch opportunity within the current period is on June 28,” NASA officials wrote in the update. “CAPSTONE’s orbital design means that the spacecraft will reach lunar orbit on November 13, regardless of the launch date in the current period, which offers launch opportunities every day through July 27.”
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