NASA said it lost contact with spacecraft on way to test moon orbit

Rocket Launch Moon
Posted at 2:01 PM, Jul 05, 2022

NASA says contact has been lost with a spacecraft headed to the moon to test out a lopsided lunar orbit.

The satellite was launched last week from New Zealand and on Monday left Earth's orbit, on its way to the moon. NASA announced the problem Tuesday and said the spacecraft's team was working to restore communications.

The spacecraft called Capstone aims to test a highly oval orbit around the moon. That's where NASA wants to put a mini space station called Gateway, which would serve as a staging point for astronauts before they descend to the lunar surface.

The Capstone satellite will take four months to reach the moon as it cruises along using minimal energy. Rocket Lab company founder Peter Beck told The Associated Press the experience of seeing the project come together and send the spacecraft on the way to the moon was "just absolutely epic."

The plan was for the satellite to orbit the moon in a stretched-out egg shape to save fuel and stay in contact with Earth.