NASA prepares a rescue plan for the Capstone nanosatellite

The US space agency is still working on recovering Capstone, which has been in trouble for several days. A plan is in the works to save him.

This may be the end of the tunnel for Capstone. Within a point of reference shared on September 21, 2022, the US space agency has made progress in its efforts to regain full control of Capstone. This would be excellent news for NASA: the probe has been experiencing difficulties for several days, without the ground team being able to find a solution.

On paper, Capstone is just a nanosatellite. However, your role is quite important: you must try a particular orbit around the Moon, on which the future lunar station will be located. In short, he plays the role of scout, the first stage for the artemis programthat will bring astronauts back to Moon during the 2020s.

A plan to take back the domain of Capstone

In its September 12 update, NASA reported that Capstone had switched to a safe mode. The machine had also had a concern about power consumption and a one-off concern about communication. So on September 15NASA indicated that its main issue was maintaining a correct temperature level for the Capstone propulsion system.

The latest news from NASA on this subject is encouraging. ” Over the past week, the Capstone spacecraft has been able to improve thermal conditions for the thruster and other critical systems while maintaining a positive power output. “Sums up the agency. One problem remains: the rotation of the vehicle on itself.

An artist’s impression of Capstone. // Font : NASA/Daniel Rutter

NASA says it has a plan to stop this movement. Tests have been carried out and their results indicate that this approach is feasible. However, it is not yet known when this recovery attempt will take place: the space agency says there are still some tests and preparations to be completed before. It may take a few more days.

Capstone is supposed to reach the vicinity of the Moon during November 2022. As it stands, its trajectory is still good. Fortunately, the nanosatellite’s faults manifested as it was completing a corrective maneuver. But the question that will begin to arise is whether the little machine will be able to fulfill what it was made for.

to go further

The Moon was eclipsed on November 19, 2021. // Source: Flickr/CC/Dirk Pons (cropped photo)

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