Advanced Space, the company operating the CAPSTONE smallsat lunar orbiter that is on the way to the Moon, has issued a hopeful update on the efforts to regain full control of the spacecraft after it began tumbling out-of-control on September 8th.
The communications situation has dramatically improved, the power state of the spacecraft appears to be sufficient for continuous (duty cycled) heating of the propulsion system which dropped below its operational temperature, Over the past few days, CAPSTONE’s power – though limited by the orientation of the spacecraft in its spin relative to the Sun – appears to be sufficient for heating of the propulsion system. When the spacecraft propulsion system temps are at +5C for 12+ hours the system will be further evaluated for use in the recovery operation. Information on the cause of the anomaly has been obtained and is being evaluated, and recovery plans that mitigate risk of further anomalous behavior are being developed. We do not have a timeline for a recovery attempt.
It appears they have not yet done the detumble maneuver that the engineers think will bring the spacecraft back to nominal operations. However, the spacecraft appears to also be on its planned course towards the Moon, so all signs suggest a full recovery is likely.
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