NASA will be working on the moon in the future.
A giant rocket will launch a capsule with no astronauts on board before the end of the summer. Water ice locked up in the polar regions will be collected by a parade of robotic landers. More than 50 years after the last Apollo moon landing, astronauts are going to return there.
Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and is part of the 21st century moon program.
The first piece of Artemis to head to the moon is expected to be launched early on Monday. It is small and scope is similar to what is to follow.
There won't be any astronauts on the ship. It's too small to be like a microwave oven. The probe won't land on the moon.
It is not the same as any previous missions to the moon. It could serve as a template for public-private partnerships that NASA could undertake in the future.
The company that is managing the mission for NASA is not sure if it has ever been put together like this before.
The coverage of the launch will start at 5 a.m. The time is Monday on NASA television. The rocket needs to launch at an exact moment, at 5:50 a.m., for the spaceship to be lofted to the correct trajectory.
Cislunar is the name of the mission and it is about technology. A crewed space station will be built as part of Artemis, and it will act as a scout for the moon. Gateway will be a way station where future crews will stop before going on to the moon.
It's unusual for NASA. It is sitting on a launch pad in New Zealand. NASA won't operate or design CAPSTONE. It is not owned by the agency. Advanced Space is a company with 45 employees on the outskirts of Colorado.
The craft is on its way to the moon. There are more chances if the rocket misses the instantaneous launch moment. On the same day, if the spaceship gets off the ground, it will go to the moon.
NASA is trying to collaborate with private companies in order to get additional capabilities at a lower cost.
Bill Nelson, NASA's administrator, said that it's another way for NASA to find out what it needs to find out.
The contract with NASA for CAPSTONE was signed in 2019. The price for the ride to space for CAPSTONE is just under $10 million, which is a lot of money for a small business.
Christopher Baker said that it would be under $30 million in three years. It is relatively quick and low cost.
Mr. Baker sees this as a way for us to help facilitate commercial missions outside of Earth.
The primary goal of CAPSTONE is to last six months.
The data it gathers will help planners.
The words "reusable" and "sustainable" were used by NASA when President Donald J. Trump said that he wanted to send astronauts to the moon.
A key piece of how astronauts would get to the moon was made by NASA. It would be easier for them to reach different parts of the moon.
Gateway won't be used in the first Artemis landing mission, which is scheduled for 25 years from now. Subsequent missions are going to happen.
It was decided by NASA that the best place to put this outpost would be in a near-recti linear halo.
The Earth and the moon are influenced by the gravity of each other. The influence of the two bodies helps keep the moon's elliptical shape.
The distance from Earth to the line-of-sight view is about 90 degrees. The near-recti linear part of the name is what this is. When communications are cut off on the moon, a spaceship in this circle never passes behind it.
As Gateway goes over the South Pole, it will travel within 2,200 miles of the moon's North Pole. It will take about a week to go around the moon.
Exotic trajectory like a near-recti linear halo orbit are well understood in the underlying mathematics. This is the first time that a space craft has gone in this particular direction.
CAPSTONE is what this means.
Dan Hartman said that they think they have it. We can help with the validation of our models.
Without any global positioning system satellites around the moon, it might take some trial and error to figure out how to keep the spaceship in the desired position.
Knowing where you are is the biggest uncertainty. In space, you don't know where you're at. You have an estimate of where it is, but you don't know.
After passing the farthest point from the moon, CAPSTONE will use signals from NASA's Deep Space Network of radio dish antennas to triangulate an estimate of its position.
An alternative method will be tested by CAPSTONE. AGPS network around the moon is not likely to be built by anyone. More will arrive in the coming years, including NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which circles the moon. By communicating with each other, a fleet of satellites could set up an ad hoc global positioning system.
This technology has been developed by Advanced Space for more than seven years and will be tested with the CAPSTONE sending signals. Dr. Cheetham said that they would be able to determine where the satellites are over the course of time.
Advanced Space decided to add a computer-chip-scale atomic clock to CAPSTONE in order to compare its time with what is broadcasted from Earth. The data can help locate the spaceship.
It was possible for Advanced Space to make that change without permission from NASA. Private companies like Advanced Space and NASA can benefit from the flexibility of the agency.
It didn't have to go through a big review of government contracting officials because we had a commercial contract with our vendors. It aided from a speed perspective.
Because Advanced Space had negotiated a fixed fee for the mission, it was not possible for the company to ask for more money. More traditional NASA contracts known as "cost-plus" reimburse companies for what they spend and then add a fee to make up the difference, which provides little incentive for them to keep costs under control.
We had to figure out how to deal with them quickly.
NASA has been successful in using fixed-price contracts to ferry cargo and astronauts to and from the International Space Station at a much lower cost than the agency's own space shuttles once did. Non-NASA customers were attracted to the company because of NASA investments.
Before CAPSTONE, Advanced Space's work was mostly theoretical, including analysis of orbits and writing software for its ad hocGPS.
The company isn't in the business of building spaceships. Dr. Cheetham said that they bought the space ship. Legos are the only hardware built at Advanced. We have a lot of Legos.
The proliferation of tiny satellites, known as CubeSats, has enabled more companies to quickly build spacecraft based on a standardized design in which each cube is 10 centimeters, or four inches, in size. CAPSTONE is one of the largest, with a volume of 12 cubes, but Advanced Space was able to buy it off-the-shelf from a California company.
A lot of problem-solving was needed. A few hundred miles above the surface is where most CubeSats are located. The moon is very far away.
No one has flown a satellite to the moon. It makes sense that no one has built radios to fly cubesats at the moon. We had to work with a couple of different people to get the systems that could work.
The Gateway program manager, Mr. Hartman, is excited about CAPSTONE but doesn't think it's necessary to move ahead with the lunar outpost. The first two modules of Gateway have already been built. Two modules are being contributed by the European space agency.
Is it possible to fly without it. Mr. Hartman referred to CAPSTONE as well. It's true. Is it something that has to be done? That's not true.
He said that reducing error bars is always a good thing.
There could be more missions to the moon for NASA or other partners. He is thinking further out.
He said he was intrigued by the idea of going to Mars in a similar way. I am interested in Venus as well. I don't believe it gets enough attention.