Engineers have successfully overcome the valve issue that had caused the CAPSTONE lunar probe to tumble, and have made a subsequent mid-course correction that has put the spacecraft on target for entering lunar orbit on November 13, 2022, as planned.
The CAPSTONE spacecraft successfully completed a trajectory correction maneuver on Thursday, Oct. 27, teeing up the spacecraft’s arrival to lunar orbit on Nov. 13.
CAPSTONE is no longer in safe mode following an issue in early September that caused the spacecraft to spin. The team identified the most likely cause as a valve-related issue in one of the spacecraft’s eight thrusters. The mission team will design future maneuvers to work around the affected valve, including the two remaining trajectory correction maneuvers scheduled before CAPSTONE’s arrival to orbit at the Moon.
Though it appears the CAPSTONE team has figured out how to deal with that malfuncting valve, it is unclear what the long-term ramifications of that valve will be. If it is still leaking it likely means the mission will be shortened because of loss of fuel, as well as the need to use more to compensate.
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