Advanced Space Announces Successful Completion of 6-Month CAPSTONE Primary Mission for NASA

WESTMINSTER, Colorado, May 18, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Advanced Space, a leading space technology solutions company, is pleased to announce the successful completion of the six-month primary mission of Capstone, the first commercial satellite to operate on the Moon. . The capstone mission’s mission is to pioneer a new and challenging lunar orbit – the Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO) – to help inform future operations for the Gateway Lunar Space Station supporting NASA’s Artemis missions. The capstone operated at NRHO for six months, following its second correction maneuver after insertion into orbit.

Since entering the NRHO six months ago, the CAPSTONE mission has achieved many accomplishments, including:

  • 28 successful orbits
  • 7 maneuvers
  • 89 published orbit determination navigation solutions
  • It collected more than 315,000 measurements from the Deep Space Network, including a site at Morehead State University. CAPSTONE was the first mission to use Morehead State University – this capability added to DSN was critical to supporting the mission.
  • Endured 6 lunar eclipses up to a maximum of 74.32 minutes
  • As designed, ground zero is eclipsed

Crosslink Communications

In addition to the above-mentioned milestones and objectives, it also announced a successful demonstration of Advanced Spacecraft. Syslunar Autonomic Status System (CAPS) It collected crosslink measurements between CAPSTONE and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) on May 9. This milestone was achieved after two years of collaboration between the Advanced Space and LRO team.

„We are very proud that the capstone mission has reached its primary mission milestone. Going to the Moon and getting to the NRHCC has presented many challenges for the advanced space and Terran orbital mission teams to overcome,” said Alec Forsman. , mission operations manager for CAPSTONE in advanced space. „We have been able to share valuable insights with NASA, who continue to support and support our success. Seeing CAPS technology successfully implemented is an incredible achievement for the team and the culmination of nearly 6 years of hard work in Advanced Space. We thank LRO for their support as we continue these demonstrations.” Let’s learn from it.”

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During this demonstration, the CAPSTONE spacecraft sent a special signal to LRO, which returned the signal and allowed CAPSTONE to calculate range and Doppler measurements. This was the primary objective of the mission, which sought to demonstrate an advanced aerospace autonomous in-plane navigation solution. CAPS. Using the data collected, the team will look to improve subsequent cross-linking demonstrations and continue to work on demonstrating operational feasibility. In the future, additional data types will be demonstrated and incorporated into CAPS to provide navigation knowledge to users in orbit and on the lunar surface.

„As the first U.S. commercial mission to the Moon and the first spacecraft to operate in this unique orbit, CAPSTONE helps inform future lunar exploration activities for the Artemis program,” said Christopher Baker, program administrator for NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Program. Directorate of Technology Mission. „Essentially, it’s pushing the boundaries of what we can do with small spacecraft and how new technologies and commercial capabilities can support missions to the Moon and beyond.”

Moon portrait

In addition to mission objectives, the CAPSTONE spacecraft was designed with an imager. This imager is included to support technology demonstration and public awareness purposes. As part of the primary mission, the Advanced Space Crew 3 was able to capture a composite image of the lunar surface.rd May 2023 at 15:11 UTC. At this time, the spacecraft was near its perilune—the spacecraft’s closest approach to the moon—which occurs above the moon’s north pole. The center of this image is located at approximately 25° N, 85° E on the lunar surface.

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Upcoming milestones

Although the PRINCIPAL mission has seen many significant milestones, the CAPSTONE mission is far from complete. The mission team, led by Advanced Space, is now planning and preparing to execute the „enhanced mission” phase, which will see the capstone spacecraft remain at NRHO for up to 12 months, continuing to demonstrate critical technologies that will support future missions. the moon

A series of activities are planned during the enhanced mission phase with particular emphasis on further demonstrating crosslink measurements and additional collections for one-way uplink measurements from Earth. The enhanced mission will emphasize increasing efficiency and automation through the flight dynamics system, a precursor to future multi-mission support. Extended mission plans beyond this next mission phase will be considered if the spacecraft continues to encounter conditions caused by lunar radiation and thermal environments.

„We are extremely grateful to NASA, our mission partners and everyone who has supported us through this journey,” said Advanced Space CEO and President Bradley Cheatham. „The development of CAPS began as an SBIR in 2017 and has now become a significant historic development in space exploration. We look forward to the spacecraft’s ongoing operations on the Moon and the future missions it will support.”

About Capstone™: Capstone Press Kit

CAPSTONE™ is owned and operated by Advanced Aerospace. It is the first CubeSat to fly in cislunar space – the orbital region near and around the Moon – and demonstrates an innovative spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation technology. The mission was launched on June 28, 2022. Key Partners in the CAPSTONE Mission:

  • NASA: The Space Technology Mission Directorate is supporting the development of the capstone through Small Spacecraft Technology and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California. The Artemis Campaign Development Division in NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate supported the launch and mission activities. NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for launch management. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory supported communication, tracking, and telemetry downlink through NASA’s Deep Space Network, Iris radio design, and 1-way navigation algorithms. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center awarded the CAPS SBIR award.
  • Terran Orbital Corporation: Support for spacecraft design, development and implementation, hardware manufacturing, assembly, testing and mission operations.
  • Star Survey: Propulsion subsystem provider.
  • Rocket Lab USA, Inc.: The release provider of the capstone in a three-stage electron release vehicle.
  • Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL): Iris is a provider of radio and navigation firmware.
  • Orion Space Solutions (formerly Astra): A chip-scale atomic clock (CSAC) hardware provider is required for 1-way ranging experiments.
  • Tethers Unlimited, Inc.: Crosslink Radio Provider.
  • Morehead State University (MSU): NASA is launching a new „connected node” on the Deep Space Network (DSN). Provide telemetry, monitoring and control services to NASA and commercial space missions and involve university students in deep space mission activities.
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About advanced placement:
Advanced space ( supports the sustainable exploration, development and solution of space through software and services using individual subject matter expertise to advance the fundamentals of space travel. Advanced Space is dedicated to advancing aeronautical technology development and accelerating turn-key missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. The group has been honored with the AIAA Small Spacecraft Mission of the Year (2022), the Commercial Spaceflight Federation Award and the NASA Honor Group Achievement Award. Learn more about what makes an advanced space; Cheque Publish details on the Syslunar Autonomous Positioning System Technical Operations Penetration Testing Tasks page.

Dawn Love
Advanced Space
[email protected]

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