The launch of NASA’s CAPSTONE moon mission has been delayed not less than two extra days, to no sooner than Monday (June 27).
The microwave oven-sized CAPSTONE will head towards the moon atop a Rocket Lab Electron automobile, which is able to raise off from the corporate’s New Zealand launch web site.
NASA and Rocket Lab had been eyeing Saturday (June 25) for the launch, nevertheless it has been pushed again to permit for extra checks on the Electron, NASA officers stated in a transient replace final night time (opens in new tab) (June 22).
Associated: Rocket Lab and its Electron booster (pictures)
If all goes in accordance with the present plan, CAPSTONE will launch Monday at 5:50 a.m. EDT (0950 GMT) and arrive on the moon on Nov. 13. That arrival date will stay the identical irrespective of when CAPSTONE lifts off, NASA officers stated; it is set by the mission’s trajectory design. CAPSTONE’s launch window extends via July 27.
The 55-pound (25 kilograms) CAPSTONE will not land on the moon. Its chief goal is to confirm the soundness of a close to rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) round the moon — a extremely elliptical path that no spacecraft has ever occupied earlier than.
NASA plans to place its Gateway house station — a key a part of NASA’s Artemis program of moon exploration — right into a lunar NRHO, and CAPSTONE is tasked with testing it out.
The cubesat can even carry out some navigation and communications assessments, a few of them in tandem with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling Earth’s nearest neighbor for greater than a decade.
Mike Wall is the creator of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a e-book concerning the seek for alien life. Comply with him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Fb (opens in new tab).