The space flight company Rocket Lab announced that it will launch, later this year, its first launch to the moon. The CAPSTONE mission will depart from New Zealand.
CAPSTONE (Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experience) will support NASA’s Artemis program. The US space agency will use CAPSTONE to test the stability of the Moon’s orbit, verifying the propulsion needs in lunar orbit. CAPSTONE is designed to help minimize the risks of future moon trips.
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This mission was initially planned to take place in early 2021 at NASA’s Wallops facility in Virginia. Rocket Lab did not provide much information about the change of location. “Flexible is not a word commonly used to describe lunar missions, but operating two complex launches gives us the freedom to select the location that best meets the mission’s requirements and schedule,” said Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck. “Our team is very proud to launch one of the first path-finding missions to support NASA’s goal of providing a sustainable presence on the Moon,” he added.
Remember that Rocket Lab has already dealt with two rocket failures and only recently resumed launching after an incident in May this year, so “this mission really shows the benefits of collaboration between NASA and industry.” Brad Cheetham, chief executive of Advanced Space, in a statement.
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