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Raumfahrt - Rocket Lab Electron mit CAPSTONE Mission -Update-1

5.07.2022

Rocket Lab Moon Mission for NASA a Success

Rocket Lab successfully deploys CAPSTONE satellite to lunar transfer orbit for NASA, charting a new path to the Moon. CAPSTONE is testing a never-before-flown orbit of the Moon and is the first mission of NASA’s Artemis program

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Rocket Lab Lunar Photon Spacecraft with CAPSTONE Satellite Integrated (Photo: Business Wire)

 

LONG BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced it has successfully deployed a pathfinding satellite for NASA, setting it on a course to the Moon. The deployment marks the successful completion of Rocket Lab’s first deep space mission, paving the way for the Company’s upcoming interplanetary missions to Mars and Venus.

“The CAPSTONE mission marks the beginning of humanity’s return to the Moon through NASA’s Artemis program and we’re incredibly proud that Rocket Lab has played a key role in that”

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Owned and operated by Advanced Space on behalf of NASA, the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) will be the first spacecraft to test the Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO) around the Moon. This is the same orbit intended for NASA’s Gateway, a Moon-orbiting outpost that will provide essential support for long-term astronaut lunar missions as part of the Artemis program.

Rocket Lab’s role in the mission took place over two phases. First, CAPSTONE was successfully launched to low Earth orbit by Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle on June 28th. From there, Rocket Lab’s Lunar Photon spacecraft provided in-space transportation, power, and communications to CAPSTONE. After six days of orbit-raising burns by Lunar Photon’s 3D printed HyperCurie engine, CAPSTONE was deployed on its ballistic lunar transfer trajectory to the Moon as planned at 07:18 UTC on July 4th. The mission was Rocket Lab’s fourth Electron launch this year, demonstrating the rocket’s continued reliability. In addition to providing the launch, Rocket Lab designed, manufactured, and operated the Lunar Photon spacecraft, successfully completing a highly complex deep space mission and demonstrating Rocket Lab’s growing capabilities as an end-to-end space company.

“The CAPSTONE mission marks the beginning of humanity’s return to the Moon through NASA’s Artemis program and we’re incredibly proud that Rocket Lab has played a key role in that,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck. “The Rocket Lab team has been working on CAPSTONE with NASA and our mission partners for more than two years, developing new small satellite technology in the form of the Lunar Photon spacecraft to make this mission possible, so it’s an incredible feeling after all that hard work and innovation to achieve mission success and set CAPSTONE on a course for the Moon. This has been Rocket Lab’s most complex mission to date and our team has been incredible. We pushed Electron and Photon to their limits and proved it’s possible to do big missions with small spacecraft. Now we’ll be applying this ground-breaking technology for more interplanetary journeys, including our upcoming missions to Venus and Mars.”

With Rocket Lab’s role in the mission now complete, CAPSTONE’s solo journey to the Moon has begun. CAPSTONE will use its own propulsion and the Sun’s gravity to navigate the rest of the way to the Moon, a four-month journey that will have CAPSTONE arriving to its lunar orbit on November 13, 2022. The gravity-driven track will dramatically reduce the amount of fuel the CubeSat needs to get to the Moon. Advanced Space and Terran Orbital will manage the operation of the CAPSTONE satellite for the duration of its orbital lifespan.

The CAPSTONE mission was Rocket Lab’s 27th Electron launch overall, but it featured several significant technological firsts for the Company, including:

  • First deep space mission.
  • First use of Lunar Photon, a high energy variant of the Rocket Lab-designed and built Photon spacecraft. Rocket Lab previously launched and continues to operate two low Earth orbit variants of the Photon spacecraft.
  • First collaborative mission between Rocket Lab and Advanced Solutions Inc, a Colorado-based flight-software company acquired by Rocket Lab in late 2021.
  • First time using the FR-lite satellite radio which Rocket Lab has an exclusive license agreement with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to manufacture.
  • First mission where Electron’s second stage deorbited the same day as launch.
  • First mission planning and executing lunar trajectories.
  • At 300 kg (661 lbs) of payload mass, the mission was Electron’s heaviest lift to date.

CAPSTONE was the first in a series of interplanetary missions for Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft, including the ESCAPADE mission to Mars in 2024 and Rocket Lab’s upcoming private mission to Venus.

Advanced Space of Colorado, a leading commercial space solutions company, owns the CAPSTONE satellite and operates the mission. CAPSTONE was designed and built by Terran Orbital. CAPSTONE development is supported by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate via the Small Spacecraft Technology Program at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. Advanced Exploration Systems within NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate supports the launch and mission operations. NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for launch management.

Quelle: Business Wire

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Update: 6.07.2022

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CAPSTONE heads to the moon

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WASHINGTON — A NASA-funded lunar cubesat is on its way to the moon July 4 after a series of burns by a Rocket Lab transfer stage.

Rocket Lab’s Lunar Photon stage released the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) cubesat at 3:18 a.m. Eastern, shortly after the seventh and final burn by the Photon’s HyperCurie engine that placed the vehicles onto a ballistic lunar trajectory.

Rocket Lab’s Electron launched Lunar Photon and CAPSTONE June 28, placing them into a low Earth orbit. Lunar Photon then performed maneuvers to increase the apogee of its orbit, reaching 70,000 kilometers before the final translunar injection burn.

Advance Space will take over operations of CAPSTONE, a 12U cubesat built by Terran Orbital. The NASA-funded mission will enter a near-rectilinear halo orbit around the moon to test the stability of that orbit ahead of future Artemis missions, including the lunar Gateway, that will operate there. It will also test autonomous positioning technologies through a link to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. NASA is spending about $30 million on CAPSTONE between its contracts with Advanced Space and Rocket Lab.

“Getting to this point, we have learned a tremendous amount already, and the time has come to execute our unique expertise for this monumental moon mission for NASA,” Brad Cheetham, chief executive of Advanced Space, said in a statement.

CAPSTONE will take more than four months to go to the moon, flying a low-energy trajectory that will take it 1.2 million kilometers from the Earth. That trajectory will minimize the propellant needed to enter lunar orbit in a maneuver scheduled for Nov. 13.

CAPSTONE was Rocket Lab’s first mission beyond Earth orbit. The company is developing a privately funded Venus probe mission that will be similar in design to CAPSTONE and Lunar Photon for launch on an Electron as soon as next year. The same architecture could be used for other solar system missions as well, the company says.

“We’ve built really impressive, low-cost access to not only the moon but to asteroids and other planets in our solar system,” Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, said in remarks on the company’s webcast of the CAPSTONE deployment. “This marks the beginning of a new scientific era where, for some tens of millions of dollars, you can go to the moon or you can go to an asteroid or you can go to Mars or Venus.”

The CAPSTONE launch was Rocket Lab’s fourth Electron mission of the year. The company said the next Electron could roll out as soon as next week but has not disclosed a launch date or customer for that mission.

Quelle: SN

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Update: 7.07.2022

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NASA: Contact lost with spacecraft on way to test moon orbit

NASA says contact has been lost with a spacecraft headed to the moon to test out a lopsided lunar orbit

WASHINGTON -- NASA said Tuesday it has lost contact with a $32.7 million spacecraft headed to the moon to test out a lopsided lunar orbit, but agency engineers are hopeful they can fix the problem.

After one successful communication and a second partial one on Monday, the space agency said it could no longer communicate with the spacecraft called Capstone. Engineers are trying to find the cause of the communications drop-off and are optimistic they can fix it, NASA spokesperson Sarah Frazier said Tuesday.

The spacecraft, which launched from New Zealand on June 28, had spent nearly a week in Earth orbit and had been successfully kick-started on its way to the moon, when contact was lost, Frazier said.

The 55-pound satellite is the size of a microwave oven and will be the first spacecraft to try out this oval orbit, which is where NASA wants to stage its Gateway outpost. Gateway would serve as a staging point for astronauts before they descend to the lunar surface.

The orbit balances the gravities of Earth and the moon and so requires little maneuvering and therefore fuel and allows the satellite — or a space station — to stay in constant contact with Earth.

Quelle: abcNews

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Update: 8.07.2022

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Contact restored with NASA spacecraft headed to lunar orbit

NASA says contact has been restored with a spacecraft headed to the moon to test out a lopsided lunar orbit

WASHINGTON -- NASA said Wednesday that contact has been restored with its $32.7 million spacecraft headed to the moon to test out a lopsided lunar orbit.

Contact was lost after one successful communication and a second partial one on Monday, after the spacecraft left Earth's orbit on its way to the moon, the space agency said.

The spacecraft spent nearly a week circling the globe after launching from New Zealand on June 28.

According to NASA, data shows “the spacecraft is in good health and operated safely on its own while it was out of contact with Earth.” The cause of the communications drop-off is under investigation.

The 55-pound satellite is the size of a microwave oven and will be the first spacecraft to try out this oval orbit, which is where NASA wants to put its Gateway outpost. Gateway would serve as a staging point for astronauts before they descend to the lunar surface.

The orbit balances the gravities of Earth and the moon and so requires little maneuvering and therefore fuel and allows the satellite — or a space station — to stay in constant contact with Earth.

Quelle: abcNews
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CAPSTONE communications restored

 

WASHINGTON — Spacecraft controllers have restored communications with a lunar cubesat that went silent shortly after its deployment earlier this week.

NASA and Advanced Space, the company operating the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) cubesat, said the spacecraft started transmitting again early July 6. The spacecraft stopped communicating about 11 hours after its July 4 deployment from Rocket Lab’s Lunar Photon transfer vehicle.

Both the agency and the company said the root cause of the communications malfunction remains under investigation. After troubleshooting, controllers received a signal from the spacecraft at 9:26 a.m. Eastern and full telemetry from it nearly an hour later, confirming that the spacecraft was in good condition.

“Through the work over the last day, the team has high confidence that the issue has been cleared and through changes to the configuration and operations it will not happen again,” Advanced Space said in a statement about the spacecraft’s status. NASA, in its own statement, said the loss of contact “was triggered during commissioning activities of the communications system” based on ground-based testing.

The interruption in communications led controllers to postpone CAPSTONE’s first trajectory correction maneuver, which was scheduled for July 5. NASA and Advanced Space said that maneuver is now scheduled for approximately 11:30 a.m. Eastern July 7. The spacecraft is still on track to enter the near-rectilinear halo orbit around the moon on Nov. 13.

Quelle:SN

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Update: 11.07.2022

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NASA’s CAPSTONE Updates Maneuver Schedule on Journey to Moon

The team for NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) is standing down from the trajectory correction maneuver scheduled for July 9 to perform additional analysis on the spacecraft’s performance. The mission team will make a determination whether the maneuver is still needed at this time, and updates will be provided.  

Trajectory correction maneuvers are thruster burns used to clean up expected variation in CAPSTONE’s orbit and more accurately target its path to the Moon. The maneuver scheduled for July 9 was to be part of CAPSTONE’s first series of trajectory corrections. CAPSTONE’s first trajectory correction maneuver on July 7 achieved about 90% of the objectives for this series of maneuvers.  

CAPSTONE remains healthy and on track to arrive to its lunar orbit on Nov. 13. Read more from Advanced Space, which owns and operates CAPSTONE on behalf of NASA. 

Quelle: NASA

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Terran Orbital Successfully Completes CAPSTONE’s First TCM Burn

The NASA Artemis program satellite is charting a new path to the Moon

 

BOCA RATON, Fla., July 8, 2022 – Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP), a global leader in satellite solutions, primarily serving the United States and Allied aerospace and defense industries, today announced the successful completion of CAPSTONE’s first TCM burn (TCM-1). As the first statistical maneuver of the mission, TCM-1 is designed to clean up expected dispersions from the launch vehicle injection – enabling CAPSTONE to continue its pathfinding lunar journey in support of NASA’s Artemis program. 

 

Terran Orbital Guidance Navigation and Control systems perfectly performed the maneuver as designed by Advanced Space. The maneuver was designed based on navigation information collected by the Deep Space Network and processed by the Advanced Space flight dynamics team. Terran Orbital’s Mission Operations Center commanded the burn and processed the post-burn telemetry. Optimized for precise maneuvers, TCM-1 is the first maneuver executed by the CAPSTONE spacecraft using its onboard propulsion system. The maneuver was designed to be approximately 20 m/s. Initial radiometric-based reconstruction suggests TCM-1 achieved approximately 19.85 m/s which represents a deviation of approximately 0.75 % — well within expectations and predictions. At the time of maneuver execution, the spacecraft was approximately 465,000 km from the Earth. Prior to the maneuver, the spacecraft was on a trajectory that would take it approximately 1.2 million km from the Earth. With the completion of TCM-1 the spacecraft is now targeting a trajectory that will take it approximately 1.4 million km from Earth. 

 

“Terran Orbital is thrilled to have successfully completed CAPSTONE’s first TCM burn,” said Terran Orbital Co-Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer Marc Bell. “Our mission operations team is composed of relentless innovators who will ensure CAPSTONE’s continued health and success in charting a new path to the Moon. Terran Orbital looks forward to completing the spacecraft’s second maneuver as we continue to work alongside Advanced Space in making this historic NASA lunar mission a reality.” 

 

CAPSTONE harnesses the gravity of the Sun to transfer to the Moon instead of fuel. This process is known as a highly efficient ballistic lunar transfer (BLT). The operations of the spacecraft are led by the Terran Orbital and Advanced Space mission operations teams in conjunction with NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN). CAPSTONE is on track to reach its Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO) around the Moon on November 13. 

 

About Terran Orbital

Terran Orbital is a leading manufacturer of small satellites primarily serving the United States and Allied aerospace and defense industries. Terran Orbital provides end-to-end satellite solutions by combining satellite design, production, launch planning, mission operations, and in-orbit support to meet the needs of the most demanding military, civil, and commercial customers. Learn more at www.terranorbital.com.

Quelle: Terran Orbital

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Update: 14.07.2022

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NASA's CAPSTONE cubesat performs 2nd engine burn en route to the moon

 

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