The American spacecraft Capstone reached lunar orbit on Sunday, where it will spend at least six months. This was reported by NASA.
As indicated in the publication, Capstone at 19:39 east coast time of the United States (today at 03:39 Moscow time) was brought into “close to a rectilinear halo orbit.” In the future, it is planned that the lunar station Gateway will operate in this orbit. Over the next five days, Capstone will perform orbit correction maneuvers, after which experts will begin processing data to confirm that the device does not deviate from its intended orbit.
The launch of Capstone to the Moon took place at the end of June from the launch site on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand using the Electron launch vehicle of the American company Rocket Lab. The start of the mission was repeatedly postponed due to the need for additional work to prepare for the flight.
The tasks of the apparatus include the calculation of the orbit for the future lunar station Gateway. Its weight is about 25 kg.
NASA announced in the spring of 2019 that the astronaut landing program on the moon, called Artemis, includes three stages. The first is launching the Orion spacecraft into space using the new Space Launch System launch vehicle, which, in unmanned mode, will make several orbits around the Moon and return to Earth. The second is a flyby of the Earth’s natural satellite with the crew on board, which is scheduled for 2023. In the third phase in 2025, NASA expects to take astronauts to the moon, and then send them to Mars in the mid-2030s.