Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today confirmed its Photon Lunar spacecraft has successfully brought the CAPSTONE satellite for NASA closer to the Moon with the completion of its fourth orbit raising maneuver.
After CAPSTONE was successfully delivered to space on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket and Photon Lunar spacecraft, NASA’s CubeSat remains attached to Photon as it periodically ignites its HyperCurie engine to accelerate the mission beyond Earth’s orbit.
Today, Photon successfully completed its fourth orbit raising maneuver to bring CAPSTONE closer to the Moon – the second of two completed maneuvers within the same 24-hour period. After the next few days and successive HyperCurie engine burns, Photon will release CAPSTONE on a ballistic lunar transfer trajectory to the Moon, from which Advanced Space (which owns and operators CAPSTONE on behalf of NASA) will take over the CAPSTONE mission.
The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) CubeSat was successfully launched to space on Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle at 09:55 UTC, June 28.
Designed and built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, a Terran Orbital Corporation, and owned and operated by Advanced Space on behalf of NASA, the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) CubeSat will be the first spacecraft to test the Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO) around the Moon. This is the same orbit intended for NASA’s Gatewaya multipurpose Moon-orbiting station that will provide essential support for long-term astronaut lunar missions as part of the Artemis program.
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Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. We deliver reliable launch services, satellite manufacture, spacecraft components, and on-orbit management solutions that make it faster, easier and more affordable to access space. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle and the Photon satellite platform and is developing the Neutron 8-ton payload class launch vehicle. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 147 satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform has been selected to support NASA missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private commercial mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand and a second launch site in Virginia, USA which is expected to become operational in 2022. To learn more, visit www.rocketlabusa.com.