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10/13/2022 – Ephemeris – CAPSTONE satellite stabilized again

October 13, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, October 13th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 5 minutes, setting at 7:01, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:57. The Moon, half way from full to last quarter, will rise at 8:59 this evening.

The CubeSat named CAPSTONE, was launched June 28th to prove out the near rectilinear halo orbit of the Moon that the Lunar Gateway Space Station and Orion Capsule will be located in on missions to the south pole of the Moon. CubeSats are built on a 10 by 10 centimeter or 4 by 4 inch cube. They are relatively inexpensive. CAPSTONE is a 12 unit CubeSat arranged 4 by 3 cubes with a solar panel/antenna attached to one side. Back on September 8th it made a course correction which caused it to tumble. It took almost a month, until last Friday to regain control of the satellite and stop the tumbling. Apparently a stuck propellant valve was the problem. CAPSTONE should enter this halo orbit of the Moon on November 13th.

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.

Addendum

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 orbit to the Moon

CAPSTONE low-energy trajectory to the Moon. TCM are trajectory Correction Maneuvers (Thruster firings). Click on the image to enlarge it. Credit: Advanced Space, builder of the CAPSTONE CubeSat.

NASA CAPSTONE pathfinder for gateway orbit

NASA CAPSTONE pathfinder for gateway orbit to prove out the near rectilinear halo orbit for the Lunar Gateway.