The CAPSTONE cubesat (Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment) is ready for launch, scheduled for May 2022. The relevant statements were given by representatives of the Advanced Space company that built the device at the opening ceremony of the control center in the city of Westminster (Colorado).
Despite the relatively modest dimensions (the mass of the satellite is only 25 kg), the launch of CAPSTONE will be a very important milestone. Firstly, this is the first mission implemented as part of the Gateway Lunar Orbital Station program. CAPSTONE will have to check the orbit where the new space outpost of humanity is planned to be placed. Another mission objective is to test an autonomous navigation system.
Secondly, CAPSTONE will be the first vehicle sent into interplanetary space by a small Electron rocket. Before, the Rocket Lab company only carried cargo into low Earth orbits. Before, the Rocket Lab company only carried cargo into low Earth orbits. The success of the launch will demonstrate the company’s readiness to implement the missions planned for the coming years to study Venus and Mars.
And finally, the launch of CAPSTONE will actually open the “lunar season” of 2022. The fact is that in the coming months, a number of both public and private missions will be launched to the moon of our planet. So to some extent, CAPSTONE will be a pioneer.
The ballistic window for the CAPSTONE launch will be open from May 3 to May 15. According to engineers, if successful, the device will enter a working orbit in September 2022.
According to https://spacenews.com