Moon mission back on track but Rocket Lab may have 'secondary' objective
After a scare on Wednesday, NASA was able to reestablish contact with its Capstone satellite, putting the Rocket Lab-led Moon mission back on course.
However, Rocket Lab warned that even though the Lunar Photon spacecraft's mission was contractually successful, it might not be finished yet.
After reporting on Wednesday that it had lost touch with the Rocket Lab-launched Capstone satellite last week
after the New Zealand-based space launch business had successfully fulfilled its duty of putting it on its course to the Moon, Nasa had left space experts dreading the worst.
Although Capstone's communications had to be restored in order for corrections to be made to its trajectory in order to place it in its intended orbit around the Moon
Nasa stated overnight that it had been successful.
Rocket Lab has been developing a backup plan for the mission in the event that the satellite was irretrievably lost, according to company spokesperson Morgan Bailey on Wednesday.
In doing so, it would have placed its own Lunar Photon spacecraft
which Capstone had been riding along with on its journey to the Moon before their anticipated separation earlier in the week, in the same orbit meant for Capstone.
With this strategy, even without Capstone, the mission would have been able to produce some findings in testing a lunar orbit for NASA's future intended lunar space station.
Bailey said that despite having successfully accomplished its contracted work of launching Capstone on its trajectory
the business was not wholly standing down because the main mission now appeared to be salvaged and because the Lunar Photon could still be useful.
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