Terran Orbital announces the successful integration of the CAPSTONE spacecraft aboard the Rocket Lab Electron rocket. The Terran Orbital designed and built satellite is flying a pathfinding mission to the moon in support of NASA’s historic Artemis program.
The plucky little spacecraft is called Capstone, or, more officially, the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment. It will be perched atop a Rocket Lab Electron rocket scheduled to blast off on June 27 from the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand at 9:50 pm local time (5:50 am EDT). If it can’t launch that day, it’ll have other opportunities between then and July 27.
A tiny spacecraft the size of a microwave could pave the way for a station between Earth and the moon
The miniscule satellite, called a CubeSat, is about the size of a microwave oven and weighs just 55 pounds (25 kilograms), but it will be the first to test out a unique, elliptical lunar orbit. The CubeSat will act as a pathfinder for Gateway, an orbiting lunar outpost that will serve as a way station between Earth and the moon for astronauts.