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A microwave oven–sized CubeSat weighing just 55 pounds is the first spacecraft to test a unique, elliptical lunar orbit as part of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE).

Active Mission

As a pathfinder for Gateway, a Moon-orbiting outpost that is part of NASA’s Artemis program, CAPSTONE will help reduce risk for future spacecraft by validating innovative navigation technologies and verifying the dynamics of this halo-shaped orbit.

Mission Type

Small Spacecraft

Led By

Small Spacecraft Technology Program


June 28, 2022

lunar Orbit insertion maneuver

November 13, 2022



After a four-month journey to its target destination, CAPSTONE will orbit this area around the Moon for at least six months to understand the characteristics of the orbit. Specifically, it will validate the power and propulsion requirements for maintaining its orbit as predicted by NASA’s models, reducing logistical uncertainties.

Learn About CAPSTONE about What is CAPSTONE?
A blue-tinted sphere at the center, representing the Earth, and the Moon at the outer edge. A grey line circles both, lacing into a crown-like shape.
Capstone illustration