Advanced Space’s CAPSTONE Is Headed To The Moon; Groundbreaking for NASA’s Artemis missions


Advanced Space’s CAPSTONE Is Headed To The Moon; Groundbreaking for NASA’s Artemis missions

Press release from: Expanded Space
Posted: Tuesday 28th June 2022

Advanced Space LLC., a leading space engineering solutions company with breakthrough navigation technology, today announced that its CAPSTONE spacecraft was launched on June 28, 2022 by Rocket Lab USA Inc. for NASA to the moon. The CAPSTONE mission will collect operational data in advance of the Artemis program, which will land the first woman and first black person on the moon. This milestone supports the first launch for NASA’s Artemis program and the first commercial and privately owned satellite to operate on the moon.

The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, or CAPSTONE, is a small satellite, or CubeSat, that will operate in a unique, elliptical orbit known as the lunar Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO). The NRHO is a key orbit used for NASA’s Lunar Gateway, a space station that will support a sustained human presence on the moon.

“CAPSTONE is truly a great representation of the advancement of the space industry. This small and collaborative industry-government team has truly deployed the best in our industry to provide time-sensitive mission capabilities in support of our nation,” said Bradley Cheetham, Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Space and principal investigator for CAPSTONE. “Next up is the separation and initial acquisition of the CAPSTONE spacecraft in six days – our team is ready. It’s an honor to make history with NASA as CAPSTONE is en route to the moon demonstrating technologies that will enable sustainable exploration, development and colonization of space. “

CAPSTONE provides a peer-to-peer navigation system and communications that allow the satellite to determine its position in space around the moon. The mission is also creating infrastructure that reduces reliance on communications from ground-based stationary tracking assets for navigation and operational support. This technology will be critical as space, particularly cislunar space, becomes increasingly crowded in the years to come.

“Our technology is a breakthrough in how NASA and other customers can navigate in space,” said Dr. Jeff Parker, co-founder of Advanced Space, chief technology officer and author of Low-Energy Lunar Trajectory Design. “It was a dream come true to see how it will help space exploration,” Parker added.

CAPSTONE will separate from the Rocket Lab Photon spacecraft bus on July 4th and head to the moon. It will take four months to reach the moon with the fuel-efficient ballistic transfer design, the subject of Parker’s book. The Advanced Space team has developed and will perform the critical maneuvers required to enter NRHO orbit.

The mission is planned for 6 months for primary operations with at least 12 months of extended mission. CAPSTONE launched on Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle.


CAPSTONE is owned and operated by Advanced Space. It is expected to be the first CubeSat to fly in cislunar space — the orbital realm near and around the Moon — and will demonstrate innovative spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation technology. The mission is scheduled to launch on Monday, June 27th. Important partners of the CAPSTONE mission are:

NASA: The development of CAPSTONE is supported by the Space Technology Mission Directorate through the Small Spacecraft Technology and Small Business Innovation Research programs at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California. The Artemis Campaign Development Division within NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate supports launch and mission operations. NASA’s Launch Services program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for launch management. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory supported communications, tracking and telemetry downlink via NASA’s Deep Space Network, Iris radio design and groundbreaking 1-way navigation algorithms.

Terran Orbital Corporation: Spacecraft design, development and implementation, hardware fabrication, assembly, testing and mission operations support.

Stellar Exploration: Propulsion Subsystem Provider.

Rocket Lab USA, Inc.: launch vehicle launches CAPSTONE on a three-stage electron launch vehicle.

Space Dynamics Lab (SDL): Provider of Iris radio and navigation firmware.

Orion Space Solutions (formerly Astra): Chip Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC) hardware provider required for the 1-way ranging experiment.

Tethers Unlimited, Inc.: Cross Link Wireless Provider.

Morehead State University (MSU): Operates the newest affiliated node in the NASA Deep Space Network (DSN). Providing telemetry, tracking and control services for NASA and commercial space missions and to engage university students in the operations of space missions.

About Advanced Space:

Advanced Space ( supports space exploration, development and colonization through software and services that leverage unique expertise to advance the fundamentals of space travel. Advanced Space is dedicated to enhancing the development of flight dynamics technology and accelerating turnkey missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Learn more about what Advanced Space creates; Check out the details on the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations Navigation Experiment mission page.

US Space Force SSC GEO Wide Field of View launch planned

The United States Space Force (USSF) Space Systems Command (SSC) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) Wide Field of View (WFOV) testbed is scheduled for launch on June 30, 2022. Designed, built and integrated by Millennium Space Systems, a Boeing company, SSC’s GEO WFOV spacecraft will shape the future Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) architecture.

“With Wide Field of View, we are advancing the technology we need to address the growing threat landscape,” said Col Heather Bogstie, SSC’s Senior Material Leader for Resilient Missile Warning, Tracking, and Defense Acquisition Delta. “GEO WFOV will also allow us to qualify a new satellite bus for GEO at significant cost savings.”

WFOV is about a quarter the size of the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) and designed to have a one to three year lifetime in GEO. Its primary mission is to explore the ability of a single sensor to perform strategic and tactical missions simultaneously by continuously monitoring up to a third of the Earth’s surface. WFOV is also paving the way for operationalization of prototypes and certification for Integrated Tactical Alert/Assault Assessment (ITW/AA) for future missions.

“We are the complete small satellite package – design, build, integration, test and mission operations,” said Jason Kim, Chief Executive Officer of Millennium Space Systems. “We were able to leverage our scalable, flight-proven bus architecture to shorten the development cycle of WFOV.”

Sponsored by SSC and managed by NASA Ames Research Center, the GEO medium spacecraft will be launched aboard the USSF-12, a United Launch Alliance rocket. Having previously passed environmental testing, WFOV was declared ready for shipment in June 2020. The spacecraft began its journey to the launch site on January 31, 2022.

Media contact:

Dana Carroll, Vice President, Marketing

Millennium Space Systems

[email protected]

About Millennium Space Systems

Millennium Space Systems, a Boeing company, provides high-performance prototype and constellation solutions for advanced national security and environmental monitoring missions. Founded in 2001, the company’s small satellite missions support the needs of government, civil and commercial space customers in all orbits.

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