CAPSTONE follows an optimized trajectory designed to minimize the required propellant to deliver it to NRHO (Credit: NASA)
The burn confirms the NASA satellite remains on its path to the Moon
BOCA RATON, Fla., July 27, 2022 – Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP), a global leader in satellite solutions, primarily serving the United States and Allied aerospace and defense industries, today announced the successful execution of CAPSTONE’s TCM-2 burn. The burn occurred in two parts with final success declared on July 26 at 1:45 UTC. As with TCM 1-a and TCM 1-c, this burn confirms the NASA satellite will maintain the proper trajectory to continue charting a groundbreaking path to the Moon. For each burn, navigation information is collected by NASA’s Deep Space Network and processed by the Advanced Space flight dynamics team. The Terran Orbital Mission Operations Center then commands the burn and processes the post-burn telemetry.
The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, otherwise known as CAPSTONE, is the first spacecraft to test a unique, elliptical lunar orbit. As a pathfinder for NASA’s Moon-orbiting Gateway outpost, CAPSTONE will help reduce risk for future spacecraft by validating innovative navigation technologies and verifying the dynamics of this halo-shaped orbit.
The orbit, formally known as a near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO), is significantly elongated. NRHO serves as a precise balance point in the gravities between the Earth and the Moon – requiring minimal energy to maintain and offering stability for long-term missions such as Gateway. NRHO requires less propulsion capability for spacecraft flying to and from the Moon’s surface than circular orbits. CAPSTONE will come within 1,000 miles of one lunar pole on its near pass and 43,500 miles from the other pole at its peak every seven days – establishing a location that is an ideal staging area for missions to the Moon and beyond.
“Each burn brings CAPSTONE one step closer to the Moon,” said Terran Orbital Co-Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer Marc Bell. “Terran Orbital is beyond proud of our incredible engineers who not only designed, built, and integrated CAPSTONE, but are now leading mission operations in collaboration with NASA and Advanced Space. We look forward to continuing this collaboration as we guide CAPSTONE on its historic lunar journey.”
CAPSTONE launched into space aboard Rocket Lab’s Electron, attached to the company’s Lunar Photon, on June 28. The spacecraft is using a highly efficient ballistic lunar transfer (BLT) to harness the gravity of the Sun to transfer to the Moon. CAPSTONE will demonstrate key commercial capabilities and future mission potential while reaching NRHO around the Moon on November 13.
About Terran Orbital
Terran Orbital is a leading manufacturer of small satellites primarily serving the United States and Allied aerospace and defense industries. Terran Orbital provides end-to-end satellite solutions by combining satellite design, production, launch planning, mission operations, and in-orbit support to meet the needs of the most demanding military, civil, and commercial customers. Learn more at www.terranorbital.com.