Success! NASA's tiny CAPSTONE probe arrives at the moon

The 55-pound (25 kilograms) CAPSTONE probe slipped into orbit around the moon on Sunday evening (Nov. 13), becoming the first cubesat ever to visit Earth's nearest neighbor.

The milestone came after a successful engine burn that ended at 7:39 p.m. EST (0039 GMT on Nov. 14), NASA officials said in a brief update

The maneuver put CAPSTONE (short for "Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment")

 NASA plans to launch the first pieces of Gateway, a crucial part of its Artemis program of moon exploration, in 2024.

But the agency wants to learn more about lunar NRHOs first, and that's where CAPSTONE comes in: The microwave-oven-sized spacecraft will verify the suspected stability of this orbit

CAPSTONE will also perform some communication and navigation tests, some of them in concert with NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been looping around the moon since 2009.

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