Advanced Space LLC, the commercial aerospace company that owns and operates the CAPSTONE mission bound for the Moon in support of NASA will separate from the Rocket Lab Lunar Photon vehicle on Monday, July 4 2022 to begin it’s journey via Ballistic Lunar Transfer to arrive at the Moon in November. CAPSTONE stands for the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Equipment, which will be the first spacecraft to demonstrate the unique lunar orbit that will be used by NASA’s Gateway, the lunar outpost astronauts will visit ahead of descending to the surface of the Moon as part of the Artemis program. 

WHO:       Advanced Space, NASA, Terran Orbital, and Rocket Lab 

WHAT:     CAPSTONE spacecraft separation from Photon

WHERE:   Space – to the Moon  (Iberian Penisula – near Spain, location relative to Earth)

WHEN:     Monday,  July 4, 2022 at ~1:15 a.m. MT


CAPSTONE is owned and operated by Advanced Space. It is expected to be the first CubeSat to fly in cislunar space – the orbital area near and around the Moon – and demonstrate an innovative spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation technology. The mission launched on Tuesday, June 28th. Critical partners in the CAPSTONE mission include: 

NASA: CAPSTONE’s development is supported by the Space Technology Mission Directorate via the Small Spacecraft Technology and Small Business Innovation Research programs at NASA’s Ames Research Center. The Artemis Campaign Development Division within NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate supports the launch and mission operations. NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center is responsible for launch management. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory supported the communication, tracking, and telemetry downlink via NASA’s Deep Space Network, Iris radio design, and groundbreaking 1-way navigation algorithms.

Terran Orbital Corporation:  Designed and built spacecraft.

Stellar Exploration: Propulsion subsystem provider.

Rocket Lab USA, Inc.: Launch provider.

Space Dynamics Lab (SDL): Iris radio and navigation firmware provider.

Orion Space Solutions (formerly Astra): Chip Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC) hardware provider for the 1-way ranging experiment.

Tethers Unlimited, Inc.: Cross Link radio provider.

Morehead State University (MSU): Provides telemetry, tracking and control services via NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN ).

About Advanced Space:

Advanced Space ( supports the exploration, development, and settlement of space through software and services that leverage unique subject matter expertise to improve the fundamentals of spaceflight. Advanced Space is dedicated to improving flight dynamics technology development and expedited turn-key missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Learn more about what Advanced Space is creating; check out details on the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations Navigation Experiment mission page.