CAPSTONE Attitude System Control Restored After a Month of Repairing

Engineers announced that they had restored the normal attitude control of a CubeSat bound for the moon after the trajectory correction maneuver a month ago.

Here is a quick review of the accident. The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (short CAPSTONE) spacecraft were performing its third trajectory correction maneuver back on Sep. 8th. A problem was encountered, and it had to enter the protective safe mode.

On Oct. 7th, Advanced Space, the company that owns the CAPSTONE, said it was able to restore normal three-axis attitude control of the spacecraft, which means they have the control back. The spacecraft was in a spin-stabilized state starting from entering safe mode until now.

Advance Space said that engineers isolated the problem to a valve with one of the spacecraft’s eight thrusters. After running a series of simulations, they uploaded the fix commands to the spacecraft on Oct. 6th to restore the three-axis attitude control.

CAPSTONE will continue testing the stability of the near rectilinear halo orbit that will be used in a future mission. The estimated date to enter orbit around the moon is November 13th.