CAPSTONE Launch No Longer Targeting June 27

NASA, Rocket Lab, and Advanced Space are standing down from the June 27 launch attempt for the CAPSTONE mission to the Moon to allow Rocket Lab to perform final systems checks.

Teams are evaluating weather and other factors to determine the date of the next launch attempt. The next launch opportunity within the current period is on June 28. CAPSTONE’s trajectory design means that the spacecraft will arrive at its lunar orbit on Nov. 13 regardless of launch date within the current period, which offers launch opportunities every day through July 27.

Learn more about CAPSTONE.

CAPSTONE Spacecraft Launch Targeted No Earlier Than June 27

NASA, Rocket Lab, and Advanced Space are now targeting June 27, 2022, for the launch of the CAPSTONE mission to the Moon, allowing teams more time for rocket preparations. CAPSTONE’s trajectory design means that the spacecraft will arrive to its lunar orbit on Nov. 13 regardless of launch date within the current period, which runs through July 27.

CAPSTONE Spacecraft Launch Targeted No Earlier Than June 25

NASA, Rocket Lab, and Advanced Space are currently targeting no earlier than June 25, 2022, for the launch of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 (LC-1) on the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand. Learn more about this ambitious mission flying a new path to the Moon.

CAPSTONE Spacecraft Launch Targeted No Earlier Than June 13

NASA, Rocket Lab, and Advanced Space are currently targeting no earlier than June 13, 2022, for the launch of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 (LC-1) on the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand. This launch date will support readiness checks for final launch and the Photon satellite bus. Learn more about this ambitious mission flying a new path to the Moon.

CAPSTONE Spacecraft Launch Targeted No Earlier Than June 6

NASA, Rocket Lab, and Advanced Space are currently targeting no earlier than June 6, 2022, for the launch of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, or CAPSTONE, mission from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 (LC-1) on the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand. We will continually evaluate the date for the first target launch attempt within the launch period, which extends to June 22.

CAPSTONE Spacecraft Arrives at Launch Site in New Zealand

The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, or CAPSTONE, spacecraft safely arrived at the Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 (LC-1) on the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand ahead of its launch. The launch window opens May 31 and extends through June 22. Rocket Lab completed the launch rehearsal, and with the spacecraft now at the launch site, will begin payload integration with the Electron rocket and Photon spacecraft bus.

Electron launch vehicle on the pad at Launch Complex 1 for wet dress rehearsal
Electron launch vehicle on the pad at Launch Complex 1 for wet dress rehearsal ahead of the CAPSTONE launch for NASA and Advanced Space. Image credit: Rocket Lab.

CAPSTONE Spacecraft Launch Targeted No Earlier Than May 31

NASA, Rocket Lab, and Advanced Space are currently targeting no earlier than May 31, 2022, for the launch of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, or CAPSTONE, mission. We will continually evaluate the date for the first target launch attempt within the launch period, which extends to June 22.

CAPSTONE Spacecraft Ships to Launch Site

The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, or CAPSTONE, spacecraft which will chart a new path for NASA’s Moon-orbiting space station Gateway, just started its journey. On May 9, it shipped from Terran Orbital Corporation in Irvine, California, to its launch site at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 (LC-1) on the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand.

CAPSTONE is expected to arrive at the Mahia Launch Complex in the next few days in preparation for a launch no earlier than May 2022. It will launch on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket using a Lunar Photon satellite upper stage to send the spacecraft into a never-been-tested near rectilinear halo orbit around the Moon.

Orion Spacecraft Adorned with Iconic NASA Worm Logo

The historic worm logo is visible on the Orion spacecraft's crew module adapter inside the Multi-Payload Processing Facility.
NASA’s iconic worm logo has been added to the outward-facing wall of Orion’s crew module adapter (CMA) inside the Multi-Payload Processing Facility (MPPF) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In the background is the Space Launch System rocket’s Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, undergoing fueling and servicing inside the MPPF alongside the CMA. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

The Orion spacecraft receives another iconic NASA “worm” logo ahead of the Artemis I mission. On April 28 teams with the agency’s Exploration Ground Systems and lead contractor Jacobs completed painting the retro insignia on the outboard wall of the spacecraft’s crew module adapter (CMA) – the piece of hardware connecting the crew module to the European-built service module – inside the Multi-Payload Processing Facility (MPPF) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

While a decal of the historic logo was added to the underside of the CMA in September 2020, having it painted on the siding of the spacecraft will make it visible as the spacecraft is poised atop the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, awaiting liftoff from Kennedy’s Launch Pad 39B.

The worm logo was officially introduced in 1975, retired in 1992, and then made a comeback in 2020, just as NASA entered a new era of human spaceflight. In addition to its appearance on the CMA, the bright red logo also was painted on the SLS twin solid rocket boosters in August 2020.

The Orion spacecraft and Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) – the upper stage of the rocket responsible for sending Orion on its journey around the Moon – are currently being fueled and serviced in the MPPF. Once fueling is complete, Orion will move to the Launch Abort System Facility for integration of its launch abort system, while the ICPS will move to the Vehicle Assembly Building to be stacked on the mobile launcher.

Artemis I will be the first integrated test of SLS and Orion and will pave the way for landing the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface. The mission will be a stepping stone for deep space exploration, leading the agency’s efforts under the Artemis program for a sustainable presence on the Moon and preparing for human missions to Mars.

Click here for a video of the logo being added to the CMA.

SLS Rocket Stage and Orion Share Space at Kennedy ahead of Artemis I

The ICPS is inside the Multi-Payload Process Facility at Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 18, 2021.
The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) moved into the Multi-Payload Processing Facility February 18, 2021, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the Artemis I mission. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) moved into the Multi-Payload Processing Facility February 18, 2021, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida alongside one of its flight partners for the Artemis I mission, the Orion spacecraft. Both pieces of hardware will undergo fueling and servicing in the facility ahead of launch by teams from NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems and their primary contractor, Jacobs Technology. The rocket stage and Orion will remain close during their journey to space.

The ICPS is moved into the Multi-Payload Process Facility on Feb. 18, 2021 at Kennedy Space Center.
The interim cryogenic propulsion stage is in view inside the Multi-Payload Processing Facility on Feb. 18, 2021, at Kennedy Space Center. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

Built by United Launch Alliance and Boeing, the ICPS will be positioned above the core stage and will provide the power needed to give Orion the big push it needs to break out of Earth orbit on a precise trajectory toward the Moon during Artemis I.

This is the first time since the shuttle program that two pieces of flight hardware have been processed inside this facility at the same time. Once final checkouts are complete, the ICPS and Orion will part ways on the ground and be reunited in the Vehicle Assembly Building for integration onto the SLS rocket.

Artemis I will be an integrated flight test of the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft ahead of the crewed flights to the Moon. Under the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface and establish a sustainable presence at the Moon to prepare for human missions to Mars.

View additional photos here.