NASA is having a hard time communicating with its new tiny lunar spacecraft

An artistic rendering of CAPSTONE at the Moon. | Image: NASA/Daniel Rutter

NASA is having trouble establishing contact with its new CAPSTONE spacecraft, a tiny probe that just launched from Earth to test out a new orbit around the Moon. Because of these communication issues, NASA had to delay a planned maneuver of the vehicle that would help refine its path to deep space. The agency is still trying to reestablish contact.

CAPSTONE is the first mission of NASA’s Artemis program, the agency’s efforts to eventually send humans back to the Moon. As part of this lunar return, NASA plans to build a new space station in the Moon’s orbit. But the orbit NASA wants to use is a unique one; it’s a particularly elongated path that’s never really been used by a spacecraft before. CAPSTONE is meant to serve as a pathfinder…

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Author: Loren Grush