A moon-orbiting spacecraft Terran Orbital built for NASA has completed its primary mission to navigate the Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit and has captured images of the moon.
The company said CAPSTONE performed initial demonstration tests of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System, an autonomous navigation software platform that helps the vehicle to determine its location without relying on ground-based assets.
Terran Orbital and Advanced Space jointly operate the spacecraft.
The small satellite communicated directly with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the moon since 2009, to demonstrate CAPS and provides the agency information on its operations around the moon’s orbit, the planned destination for the agency’s Gateway multi-purpose lunar outpost.
Throughout its mission, CAPSTONE has conducted seven on-orbit maneuvers, collected more than 315,000 measurements from the Deep Space Network, endured six lunar eclipses and made 89 published orbit-determination navigation solutions.
CAPSTONE is a key element of the Artemis space exploration program to demonstrate calculated orbital stability of the NRHO.