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US space agency NASA will livestream the launch of its crucial mission to the moon – the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology (CAPSTONE) Operation and Navigation Experiment. The CAPSTONE, a tiny CubeSat the size of a microwave oven, will become the first spacecraft to fly into a specific single lunar orbit and serve as a pathfinder for other future moon missions with the crew.

After several delays, the CAPSTONE will launch on Monday, June 27 from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula.

where to watch

The instant launch opportunity opens at 6 a.m. EDT (3:30 p.m. IST) on June 27. Until July 27, backup opportunities will be available to NASA to accommodate any weather or technical delays to the launch. Live coverage of the launch event will begin at 5 a.m. (2:30 p.m. IST) June 27 on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

What will the CAPSTONE do?

The CAPSTONE is designed and built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, a Terran Orbital Corporation. It is owned and operated by Advanced Space on behalf of NASA. The destination of the CubeSat is the Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO). It is the first spacecraft to test the stability of the new NRHO orbit around the moon.

According to the researchers, the gravitational pull of the Earth and the Moon interact at this location in space to allow for a nearly stable orbit. NASA plans to use this type of unique orbit to park its lunar-orbiting Gateway space station, which will be a multipurpose outpost for long-range lunar missions under its Artemis program.

The NRHO orbit will also provide a clear view of Earth and good coverage of the lunar south pole. The Artemis III is expected to take two astronauts to the lunar south pole in 2024-25 and build a lunar base.

Learn more about CAPSTONE

NASA has invited the public to join NASA’s virtual social network to learn more about the CAPSTONE mission.

(Edited by : Priyanka Deshpande)

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