NASA has canceled plans to launch small cubes to the moon on Monday (June 27) to allow more time to check out the flight’s Rocket Lab booster.
The US space agency announced today that it will no longer target the launch of the new rocket on Monday CAPSTONE Cubes To the Moon on an electronic booster created by rocket lab. The mission, led by Advanced Space Corporation, was scheduled to launch from a platform on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula at 6 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT) on Monday.
“NASA, Rocket Lab, and Advanced Space have pulled back from the June 27 launch attempt for the CAPSTONE mission to the moon to allow Rocket Lab to perform final checks of 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 of the next launch attempt.”
The next possible launch date for CAPSTONE the size of a microwave oven is Tuesday, June 28, but NASA and its partners can launch the mission any time before July 27 and still guarantee cubes It will reach the moon on November 13, the agency said. the mission It has been repeatedly delayed 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 55 lb (25 kg) spacecraft designed to test a new trajectory around the Moon called Close to the straight halo orbit. The orbit, which follows a highly elliptical path around the Moon, is the same orbit that NASA hopes to use in its scheme. space station gate for astronauts as part of the Artemis program.
Within the framework of the mission, CAPSTONE will be launched in the missile laboratory Electron booster and use the company’s Photon Theater to help make his way to the moon. It’s Rocket Lab’s first mission with Photon.
If all goes well, CAPSTONE will disengage from its Photon ride six days after launch and slowly make its way to the Moon over the course of 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) from the lunar surface.
“The next launch opportunity during the current period is June 28,” NASA officials wrote in the update. “CAPSTONE’s trajectory design means that the spacecraft will reach its lunar orbit on November 13 regardless of the launch date during the current period, providing launch opportunities every day until July 27.”
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