NASA has lost contact with the CAPSTONE mini-satellite, which is on its way to the Moon.
This is reported by Engadget.
The satellite (which weighs 25 kilograms) lost contact with engineers on July 4, shortly after leaving Earthʼs orbit. A representative of NASA reported that the agency has accurate information about CAPSTONEʼs trajectory, and experts are currently trying to re-establish contact with the minisatellite.
"If necessary, the mission will have enough fuel to delay the initial trajectory correction maneuver for several days after disconnection from the booster." — NASA informed.
CAPSTONE spent six days building up speed in orbit on Rocket Labʼs Electron rocket booster and headed for the moon on Monday.
The mission of the minisatellite is to test the stability of the orbit that NASA plans to use for the future Gateway space station as part of the Artemis mission.
- The first flight with astronauts as part of the Artemis-2 mission around the moon is scheduled for 2024. The Artemis-3 mission will be the first after Apollo 17 to land humans on the surface of the Moon ( scheduled for 2025 ). It should land on the south pole of the Moon. Its craters, which never see sunlight, are believed to contain vast reserves of ice. This ice can be used to produce rocket fuel in-situ — then it would not have to be shipped from Earth, reducing the cost of lunar exploration.