NASA lost contact with the CAPSTONE satellite

NASA’s deep space communications network has lost contact with the CAPSTONE satellite. This happened a day after the device separated from the Lunar Photon platform and went on an independent journey to the Moon.

APSTONE satellite (concept). Source: NASA

For the first time, problems with CAPSTONE were reported by radio amateurs who discovered the absence of outgoing transmissions from the satellite. Soon NASA confirmed that it really stopped communicating with the Earth. It is worth noting that despite the fact that the construction of the satellite was funded by NASA, the Advanced Space startup is engaged in mission management. Currently, its engineers are analyzing the latest CAPSTONE telemetry, trying to figure out the cause of the failure.

It is known that after separating from Lunar Photon, CAPSTONE successfully deployed solar panels. The device also activated the propulsion system in preparation for the first course correction. It was supposed to take place on July 5, but the satellite did not have time to implement it. According to engineers, CAPSTONE has a reserve of time and fuel, which allows postponing the start of maneuvering for several days. But it all depends on how serious the problems faced by the satellite are.

As for the Lunar Photon platform, Rocket Lab specialists are still in contact with it. According to the head of the company, Peter Beck, it had enough fuel left to carry out the expanded mission. However, it has not yet begun to disclose its details.

Recall that NASA recently postponed the launch of the Psyche asteroid mission to 2023.

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