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CAPSTONE attitude control restored

CAPSTONE. Credit: Terran Orbital

Edinburgh, 11 October 2022. – NASA said its engineers have restored normal attitude control of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) spacecraft a month after it went into safe mode due to a problem during a trajectory correction maneuver.

CAPSTONE had been in a spin-stabilized state since the issue occurred. Engineers found that the cause of the problem was one of the spacecraft’s eight thruster valves. The valve was partially open resulting in extra thrust whenever the propulsion system was pressurized, Advanced Space, the owner of CAPSTONE, said.

This was the second major issue for the mission since its June launch. The first problem came in July when the spacecraft lost contact with ground control. Communication was restored a day later, stating that a series of events comprising an “improperly formatted command” caused the issue.

CAPSTONE is a mission funded by NASA, aiming to test the stability of the near-rectilinear halo orbit. This cislunar orbit will be used during future Artemis missions.

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