NASA is struggling to regain control of a spacecraft on its way to the moon


NASA’s small CAPSTONE spacecraft has encountered a problem, on its way to the moon, and is currently out of control. The US space agency’s $30 million probe, which is the size of a microwave oven and weighs only 55 pounds, is also experiencing temperature issues. And he faced problems in generating energy from solar panels.

Members of the mission team said that near the end of the combustion of a large engine, CAPSTONE suffered an anomaly that put the probe into a protective “safe mode”.

In an update this week, Advanced Space, the company running the project for NASA, described it as a “dynamic operating mode.”

This isn’t the first time CAPSTONE has encountered an obstacle. In July, the spacecraft fell silent shortly after breaking free from Earth orbit, however, communication was later restored.

The spacecraft was also launched in June with the aim of orbiting the moon to prepare for a new lunar space station, and will test the stability of a halo-shaped orbit before it is used by Lunar Gateway, NASA’s planned lunar outpost. The Moon and possibly as a starting point for missions to Mars.

Ground teams are now trying to stabilize the movement of the small exploration satellite and save the mission, as CAPSTONE reached a distance of more than 950,000 miles (1.53 million km) from Earth on August 26, before gravity began to pull the probe into a path to cross paths with the moon.

Halfway through its transit to Earth’s lone moon, the probe launched a hydrazine miniature propulsion system for its third trajectory correction maneuver, but NASA said the spacecraft experienced a problem during or shortly after the burn.

Ground stations were then unable to receive meaningful communications from the spacecraft, leading Advanced Space to declare an operational emergency.

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