Archive for June 10, 2022

06/10/2022 – Ephemeris – The first Artemis mission: CAPSTONE

June 10, 2022 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Friday, June 10th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 9:27, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:56. The Moon, 3 days past first quarter, will set at 3:52 tomorrow morning.

Launching, perhaps, as soon a Monday is the CAPSTONE Mission, which is part of the Artemis program to send the next man and first woman to the Moon. The Capstone mission is to check out the special near rectilinear halo orbit the Lunar Gateway space station, and the Human Landing Craft will be in when the Orion spacecraft arrives before landing. CAPSTONE is, of course, an acronym that explains its purpose, to achieve and navigate itself into this near rectilinear halo orbit. CAPSTONE is basically a CubeSat made of 12 4 by 4 inch (12 100 mm by 100 mm) cubes. It will be launched by Rocket Lab from New Zealand on their Electron rocket with their Proton upper stage. It will take 3 months to reach the Moon.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hours). They may be different for your location.


CAPSTONE spacecraft

Artist’s impression of the CAPSTONE spacecraft at perilune, the closest point in its orbit, over the north pole of the Moon.

CAPSTONE's near rectilinear halo orbit of the Moon

CAPSTONE’s near rectilinear halo orbit of the Moon, which precesses to keep face on to the Earth during the lunar orbit of the Earth.