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NASA re-establishes contact with CAPSTONE spacecraft

NASA has regained communication with its new CAPSTONE lunar spacecraft, pictured during launch rehearsal, the space agency confirmed Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Rocket Lab
NASA has regained communication with its new CAPSTONE lunar spacecraft, pictured during launch rehearsal, the space agency confirmed Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Rocket Lab

July 6 (UPI) -- NASA has regained communications with its new lunar spacecraft, the space agency confirmed on Wednesday.

"Mission operators have re-established contact with NASA's Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) spacecraft," NASA said in a statement.

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It did not immediately provide additional details or updates.

"We have re-established communications with CAPSTONE. The spacecraft is looking happy and healthy. More details to come," Colorado-based Advance Space Tweeted Wednesday.

Advance Space's proprietary peer-to-peer navigation technology is a part of the CAPSTONE spacecraft.

The space agency said Tuesday it had lost communication with CAPSTONE after it was deployed Monday.

The lunar orbiter left low Earth orbit on its way to the moon Monday when it "experienced communications issues while in contact with the Deep Space Network," NASA said in a statement.

The CAPSTONE is attached to Rocket Lab's Photon upper stage, which maneuvered the orbiter into position for its journey to the moon.

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The spacecraft will act as a pathfinder for the moon-orbiting outpost, named Gateway, that eventually is to support the long-term human return to the lunar surface.

The mission is part of NASA's 21st-century moon program named for Artemis, who in Greek mythology was a twin sister of Apollo. The program aims to return humans to the moon in 2024, more than half a century since the last Apollo moon landing.

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