Madrid. Following initial deployment on the Fourth of July, the spacecraft — a cubeSat sent to study a new lunar orbit for the future Gateway Station — successfully deployed solar arrays, stabilized and began charging its onboard battery. The propulsion system was also readied for the spacecraft’s first maneuver.
Capstone, the size of a microwave oven, made initial contact with the DSN (Deep Space Network) ground station in Madrid, followed by partial contact with the Goldstone ground station in California. From these contacts, mission operators were able to determine Capstone’s approximate position and speed in space, but communication was then cut off.
As a result, Capstone’s first trajectory correction maneuver, originally scheduled for the morning of July 5, was delayed. This maneuver was the first in a series that is designed to make small corrections to increase the accuracy of the transfer orbit to the Moon, and the spacecraft stayed on the intended overall lunar ballistic transfer while awaiting this trajectory correction.
As a result of the work of the mission teams, NASA reported this July 6 in a blog update that contact with the spacecraft had been reestablished. Maneuvers to reach its lunar orbit are expected to resume on a planned four-month trip.
#NASA #reestablishes #contact #lunar #probe #Capstone