Lunar orbiter mission
CAPSTONE Spacecraft Completes TCM-2 Burn
Terran Orbital has executed a TCM-2 burn for the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment. The burn was carried out in two parts and was declared fully successful on July 26.
The burn confirms that the CAPSTONE satellite will maintain its course towards the moon. The spacecraft is charting the near rectilinear halo orbit, which serves as a precise balance point between the Earth and the moon. Such an orbit requires less propulsion capability and offers better stability for long-term missions due to its gravitational property.
NASA’s Deep Space Network collects navigation information while the Advanced Space flight dynamics team processes the information. The Terran Orbital Mission Operations Center commands the burn and processes the post-burn telemetry.
The CAPSTONE spacecraft was launched as a pathfinder for NASA’s Gateway outpost and is designed to validate navigation technologies for safe travel to the moon. To test navigation features, the vehicle will come within 1,000 miles of a lunar pole on its near pass and 43,500 miles from the other pole at its peak.
CAPSTONE should reach its markers every seven days. It is expected to reach NRH around the moon on Nov. 13.
Tags: Deep Space Network lunar orbit NASA space TCM-2 Terran Orbital