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NASA satellite breaks from orbit around Earth, heads to moon- pathbreaker for astronauts to follow

A satellite the size of a microwave oven was successfully released from its orbit around the Earth on Monday and landed on the moon, the latest step in NASA’s plan to land astronauts on the lunar surface again.

A satellite the size of a microwave oven was successfully released from its orbit around the Earth on Monday and landed on the moon, the latest step in NASA’s plan to land astronauts on the lunar surface again.

This has already been an unusual journey for the Capstone Satellite. It was six days ago that the Rocket Lab Company launched them into a small electron rocket from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. The satellite will take another four months to reach the moon, as it travels using minimal energy.

Peter Beck, founder of Rocket Lab, told The Associated Press that his excitement was hard to put into words.

“It’s probably going to take a while to sink. It’s a project that took us two, two and a half years and it’s incredibly, incredibly difficult to implement,” he said. “So to see it all together tonight and to see that spacecraft on its way to the moon, it’s absolutely epic.”

Beck said the relatively low cost of the mission – NASA put it at .7 32.7 million – ushered in a new era for space exploration.

“For a few million dollars, there’s now a rocket and a spacecraft that can take you to the moon, asteroids, Venus, Mars,” Beck said. “It’s an insane power that never existed before.”

If the rest of the mission succeeds, the Capstone satellite will send important information for a few months to take a new orbit around the moon for the first time, called a near-rectilinear hello orbit: the shape of an egg extending at one end of the orbit. Close to the moon and the other away from it.

Finally, NASA plans to place a space station called Gateway in orbit, from where astronauts can land on the moon as part of its Artemis program.

The advantage of the new orbit is that it reduces fuel consumption and allows the satellite – or a space station – to be in constant contact with the Earth, Beck said.

The electron rocket that launched from New Zealand on 28 June was carrying a second spacecraft called the Photon, which split nine minutes later. The satellite was carried on the photon for six days, with the spacecraft’s engines periodically firing to move its orbit farther and farther from Earth.

A final engine explosion on Monday allowed the photon to launch from the Earth’s gravitational pull, sending the satellite into its path. The 25-kilogram (55-pound) satellite plans to shoot the moon farther before the new moon returns to orbit on November 13. The satellite will use a small amount of fuel to modify some planned trajectory courses. Way

Beck said they would decide the next day what to do with the photon, which has done its job and still has some fuel left in the tank.

“There’s a lot of great missions out there that we can actually do with it,” Beck said.

For the mission, NASA has partnered with two commercial companies: the California-based Rocket Lab and the Colorado-based Advanced Space, which owns and operates the Capstone satellite.




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