NASA spoke about further work on the CAPSTONE mini-satellite, which will be delivered to the moon.
As with Rocket Lab’s payload deployment today, our CAPSTONE cube will receive acceleration from Photon. CAPSTONE will then use its own propulsion system to reach and test a never-before-used lunar orbit.
The company reports that the universal satellite platform “Foton” was created on the basis of the upper stage of the light rocket “Electron”. It has its own Curie engine, orientation and communication systems, and solar panels to generate power.
Much like today's @RocketLab payload deployment, our CAPSTONE CubeSat will get a boost from Photon. Then, CAPSTONE will use its own propulsion system to reach and test a never-before-used lunar orbit.
More about the mission launching later this year: https://t.co/5XmLWVEHGO pic.twitter.com/w6Guqx0Yys
— NASA Technology (@NASA_Technology) March 23, 2021
NASA will be the first client for this system with its CAPSTONE apparatus of the CubeSat 12U format.
NASA notes that the CAPSTONE installation is now undergoing external tests to ensure that the spacecraft systems are operational.
The system measures approximately 8 square inches by 4 inches deep. Eight thrusters in this system use hydrazine fuel to provide jet acceleration. Ultra-small, high-performance CAPSTONE engines combine proven NASA technology with state-of-the-art industrial manufacturing techniques.