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Rocket Lab’s Photon completes course corrections, deploys CAPSTONE to Moon

Capitalism in space: Rocket Lab’s Photon upper stage successfully completed its seventh engine burn, putting NASA’s cubesat test lunar orbital on a path toward the Moon.

Following its launch on June 28, CAPSTONE orbited Earth attached to Rocket Lab’s Photon upper stage, which maneuvered CAPSTONE into position for its journey to the Moon. Over the past six days, Photon’s engines fired seven times at key moments to raise the orbit’s highest point to around 810,000 miles from Earth before releasing the CAPSTONE CubeSat on its ballistic lunar transfer trajectory to the Moon. The spacecraft is now being flown by the teams at Advanced Space and Terran Orbital. [emphasis mine]

From here on out CAPSTONE will use its own tiny thrusters to do any course corrections as it heads for an arrival in lunar orbit on November 13, 2022.

The highlighted words in the quote above are significant in and of themselves. The spacecraft is not being operated by NASA. In fact, other than paying for it, NASA has little to do with CAPSTONE. It was designed and built by Terran Orbital. It was launched by Rocket Lab. And it is now being controlled by Advanced Space, a private commercial company focused on providing in-space operations for others.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

6 comments

  • Ray Van Dune

    An admirable achievement for a private consortium and a small satellite, but 5 months is a bit of a leisurely voyage to be sure.

  • Jeff Wright

    They used little puffs of thrust-trading power for time… puny rockets mean longer waits

  • Ken

    Should that “810,000” number be 810?

  • sippin_bourbon

    Ken,

    Neither is correct.

    This might help. There is a non-scale diagram of the flight on page 8. We have reached step 5. But see step 6.
    https://www.rocketlabusa.com/assets/Uploads/CAPSTONE-Press-Kit3.pdf

    Whoever typed the NASA release, I believe, mis-spoke.
    The release from the Photon happened well above 810 miles, however the 810,000 (or 1.3 million KM) comes from the apogee for the current trajectory.
    It will hit that distance before falling back into Earth-Moon orbits, and using it’s own power, try to hit the near rectilinear halo orbit.

    I will dig to see if I can find the actual altitude at the time of the release.

  • sippin_bourbon

    So far, the best I can find is somewhere in excess of 200,000 km

  • David Telford

    Way cool!

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