NASA re-establishes contact with New Zealand-launched Capstone satellite

  • 07/07/2022

A sigh of relief for NASA on Thursday morning after it finally re-establishing contact with Rocket Lab's "Capstone" satellite.

It comes after a nail-biting 48 hours, which saw engineers scrambling to contact the multi-million dollar vessel.

NASA confirmed the problem had been solved, in a Tweet just after 3am on Thursday morning.

"Operators have successfully re-established contact with our #CAPSTONE spacecraft," NASA said on Twitter.

The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) satellite aboard the Photon spacecraft was launched from Aotearoa's Māhia Peninsula on June 28.

But an update on NASA's Artemis blog on Tuesday, which is charting the space agency's attempts to return astronauts to the lunar surface, confirmed they had lost contact with the Capstone satellite.

"Following successful deployment and start of spacecraft commissioning on July 4, the Capstone spacecraft experienced communications issues while in contact with the Deep Space Network," the blog said.

"The spacecraft team is working to understand the cause and re-establish contact."

It's the first-ever lunar mission to launch from New Zealand and is set to enter the moon's orbit later this year.