CAPSTONE Satellite

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    In  News 

    • Recently, NASA launched Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment(CAPSTONE Satellite).

    About 

    • It is a microwave oven-sized CubeSat weighing just 55 pounds (25 kg).
    • It  is designed to test a unique, elliptical lunar orbit.
    • It aims to help reduce risk for future spacecraft by validating innovative navigation technologies, and by verifying the dynamics of the halo-shaped orbit.
      • The orbit is known as a near-rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO).
      •  It is significantly elongated, and is located at a precise balance point in the gravities of Earth and the Moon.
    • It will gain experience with small dedicated launches of CubeSats beyond low-Earth orbit, to the Moon, and beyond, NASA said.

    Mission objectives:

    • Verify the characteristics of a cis-lunar near rectilinear halo orbit for future spacecraft
    • Demonstrate entering and maintaining this unique orbit that provides a highly-efficient path to the Moon’s surface and back
    • Demonstrate spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation services that allow future spacecraft to determine their location relative to the Moon without relying exclusively on tracking from Earth
    • Lay a foundation for commercial support of future lunar operations
    • Gain experience with small dedicated launches of CubeSats beyond low-Earth orbit, to the Moon, and beyond

    Source:IE