Capstone satellite, a microwave oven-sized satellite, has successfully broken free from its orbit from Earth and is headed to the moon. This is a part of NASA’s plan to descend astronauts on the lunar surface, the moon, again. What is remarkable about this satellite, however, is that it uses minimal energy. Along with this, the satellite has relatively costs lower. As per reports, NASA has spent $32.7 million. This has marked a new era for space exploration.
The satellite will take another four months to reach the moon. Rocket Lab, one of the smallest Electron rockets, launched the Capstone satellite six days ago from Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand. In a conversation with Associated Press, Peter Beck, founder of Rocket Lab, said,” For some tens of millions of dollars, there is now a rocket and a spacecraft that can take you to the moon, to asteroids, to Venus, to Mars. It’s an insane capability that’s never existed before.”
The Capstone satellite will be the first to explore a new orbit around the moon called a near-rectilinear halo orbit. The shape of the orbit is like a stretched-out egg shape with one end of the orbit close to the moon and the other one at a farther distance. If the mission is successful, the world can receive new information on this.
“It's probably going to take a while to sink in. It's been a project that has taken us two, two-and-a-half years and is just incredibly, incredibly difficult to execute. So to see it all come together tonight and see that spacecraft on its way to the moon, it's just absolutely epic,” exclaimed Peter, as per reports.
NASA is working on another program, known as Gateway, a space station. With the help of this, astronauts can land on the moon's surface. It will be a part of the Artemis program. For this, NASA has teamed up with two commercial companies: California-based Rocket Lab and Colorado-based Advanced Space – it owns and functions the Capstone satellite.