NASA CAPSTONE Launch To The Moon Delayed Again

CAPSTONE will serve as a pathfinder for Gateway, a Moon-orbiting outpost that is part of NASA’s Artemis program.

NASA, Rocket Lab and Advanced Space are standing down from the launch of the CAPSTONE mission planned for June 27.

The next launch opportunity for the mission within the current period is on June 28.

But CAPSTONE’s trajectory design means that the spacecraft will arrive at its lunar orbit on November 13,

A microwave oven-sized CubeSat weighing around 25 kilograms will serve as the first spacecraft to test a unique, elliptical lunar orbit.

A Moon-orbiting outpost that is part of NASA’s crucial Artemis program.

The orbit, called a near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) is very elongated and its location is at a precise balance point in the gravities of the Earth and the moon.

The orbit will bring CAPSTONE within 1,600 kilometres of one lunar pole and within 60,000 kilometres at its peak every seven days.

After a four-month-long journey to the target destination, CAPSTONE will orbit this area around the Moon for at least six months to understand the characteristics of the orbit.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has been circling the moon since 2009

CAPSTONE will launch aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand when it is ready.