After CAPSTONE successfully left Earth orbit, it began charging its internal battery using solar arrays, according to an update from NASA.
CubeSat is awaiting trajectory correction and is on course for its overall intended mission for its ballistic lunar transfer, NASA said.
Leaving Earth’s orbit
The satellite will rely on its own propulsion and the Sun’s gravity for the rest of its journey. Gravity will allow the CubeSat to use significantly less fuel to reach its destination.
The mission was launched on June 28 aboard Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand.
The goal of CubeSats is to enter an extended orbit around the Moon for at least six months for research purposes.
The satellite’s orbit will bring the spacecraft within 1,000 miles (1,609.3 kilometers) of one lunar pole at its closest approach and 43,500 miles (70,006.5 kilometers) from the other pole every seven days.
Additionally, the small satellite will test its communications capabilities. The orbiter provides a view of Earth while providing coverage for the Moon’s south pole, the planned landing point for the Artemis astronauts in 2025.
CubeSat will also communicate with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the Moon for 13 years. It will serve as a reference point for the satellite and allow scientists to measure the distance between CubeSat and LRO and the capstone’s position in the sky.