CAPSTONE, NASA's moon-bound satellite, breaks free of Earth's orbit
grand plan to take humans back to the Moon for the first time in over half a century has taken another step forward.
(Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment)
has broken free of Earth's orbit and is on its way to the Moon.
launched CAPSTONE on an Electron rocket
from New Zealand
Following six days of orbit-raising burns to build up enough speed, the pathfinding satellite set out toward the Moon.
It's a relatively slow trip, though.
CAPSTONE won't reach the Moon until November.
NASA will try to put CAPSTONE in a Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit around the Moon, a feat that's never been attempted before.
The agency plans to use the same orbit for the
Gateway space station
, which will provide support for long-term lunar missions under the
The outpost will have living quarters for astronauts and a lab.