Terran Orbital Developed CAPSTONE Successfully Enters Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit Around the Moon

Terran Orbital Developed CAPSTONE Successfully Enters Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit Around the Moon

Terran Orbital, a global leader in satellite-based solutions primarily serving the aerospace and defense industries, announced the Terran Orbital-developed CAPSTONE spacecraft successfully arrived in a Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO) around the Moon. Following an initial orbit insertion maneuver on Sunday, CAPSTONE will perform clean-up maneuvers over the next several days to complete insertion into its target orbit. The spacecraft’s arrival in this unique elongated orbit marks the next phase of its pathfinding lunar mission.

Designed, built, and integrated by Terran Orbital and led by Advanced Space of Westminster, Colorado, the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, otherwise known as CAPSTONE, launched on Rocket Lab’s Lunar Photon spacecraft bus aboard an Electron launch vehicle on June 28. Spacecraft operations are shared between Terran Orbital and Advanced Space for NASA.

The CAPSTONE mission will lay the groundwork for future lunar exploration by proving the operations of robust missions in NRHO. CAPSTONE's goal is to provide rapid and low-cost data about operations in NRHO around the Moon, the same orbit planned for Gateway – a space station that will orbit around the moon to provide astronauts with access to the lunar surface in support of NASA's Artemis missions.

Until now, this demonstration would be impossible for a 12U form factor such as CAPSTONE – but the compact, low power, and robust system design of Terran Orbital’s MRKII avionics enabled the creation of this 12U interplanetary platform. Once the CAPSTONE vehicle finalizes insertion into the NRHO orbit, the team will prepare to demonstrate the CAPS software, developed by Advanced Space, to demonstrate inter-satellite ranging with the goal of reducing ground station congestion with the expected increase in satellite activity around the Moon.

“To say we are proud of the CAPSTONE team is an understatement,” said Terran Orbital Co-Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer Marc Bell. “From Rocket Lab’s perfect launch to NRHO insertion, we had the privilege of never experiencing a dull moment. Terran Orbital engineers continuously met rapidly changing circumstances with precision and innovation bolstered by the advantages of in-house hardware and software development. The design, modeling, and simulation concepts refined throughout the process will ensure the successful flights of countless future generations of spacecraft. Terran Orbital is grateful for the trust, support, and collaboration of NASA, Advanced Space, and Rocket Lab and we look forward to fostering these partnerships in imminent collaborations.”

“Guiding CAPSTONE to the Moon was a once-in-a-lifetime experience none of us will ever forget,” continued Bell. “We cannot wait for the next Terran Orbital-developed Artemis-supporting satellite LunIR to launch. With CAPSTONE we created a new map of the Moon. With LunIR we will create a new map of the Moon. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.”

“This combined CAPSTONE mission team, including Advanced Space, Terran Orbital, NASA, and others, has demonstrated an entirely new approach to supporting space exploration,” said Advanced Space Chief Executive Officer and CAPSTONE Principal Investigator Bradley Cheetham. “This is a major milestone not just for our organizations but for our industry.”

Click here to learn about Terran Orbital's CAPSTONE spacecraft.

Publisher: SatNow
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GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013