Advanced Space LLC., a leading space tech solutions company with breakthrough navigational technology, today announced that its CAPSTONE spacecraft has been launched toward the Moon by Rocket Lab USA Inc. for NASA on June 28, 2022. The CAPSTONE mission will gather operational data ahead of the Artemis program that will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon. This milestone supports the first launch for NASA’s Artemis program and the first commercial and privately owned satellite to operate at the Moon.

The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, or CAPSTONE, is a small satellite, or CubeSat that will operate in a unique, elliptical orbit, the lunar Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO). The NRHO is an important orbit that will be used for NASA’s lunar Gateway, a space station that will support a sustained human presence on the Moon.

“CAPSTONE truly is a great representation of the advancement of the space industry. This small and collaborative industry-government team has really deployed the best of our industry to deliver time sensitive mission capabilities to support our nation,” said Bradley Cheetham, chief executive officer of Advanced Space and principal investigator for CAPSTONE. “Next is separation and initial acquisition of the CAPSTONE spacecraft in six days – our team is ready. It is an honor to make history with NASA as CAPSTONE is on its way to the Moon demonstrating technologies that will enable the sustainable exploration, development, and settlement of space. “

CAPSTONE provides a peer-to-peer navigation system and communication that allows the satellite to determine its location in space around the Moon. The mission also creates infrastructure that will reduce the reliance on communications from Earth-based fixed tracking assets for navigation and operations support. This technology will be critical as space, especially cislunar space, becomes more congested in the coming years.

“Our technology is a breakthrough for how NASA and other customers can navigate in space,” said Dr. Jeff Parker, co-founder of Advanced Space, chief technology officer and author of the book Low-Energy Lunar Trajectory Design. “It’s been a dream come true to see how it will help space exploration,” added Parker.

CAPSTONE will separate from the Rocket Lab Photon spacecraft bus on July 4th and will head to the Moon.   It will take four months to arrive at the Moon using the fuel-efficient ballistic transfer design, the subject of Parker’s book. The Advanced Space team designed and will operate the critical maneuvers required to enter the NRHO orbit.

The mission is planned for 6 months for primary operations with at least twelve months of enhanced mission. CAPSTONE launched on Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle.


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 is scheduled to launch on Monday, June 27th. 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 in California’s Silicon Valley. 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 in Florida 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: Spacecraft design, development and implementation, hardware manufacturing, assembly, testing and mission operations support.

Stellar Exploration: Propulsion subsystem provider.

Rocket Lab USA, Inc.: Launch provider launching CAPSTONE on a three-stage Electron launch vehicle.

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

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

Tethers Unlimited, Inc.: Cross Link radio provider.

Morehead State University (MSU): Operates the newest “affiliated node” on the NASA Deep Space Network (DSN). Providing telemetry, tracking and control services for NASA and commercial space missions and to engage university students in deep space mission operations.

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.

U.S. Space Force SSC’s GEO Wide Field of View Scheduled for Takeoff

The United States Space Force (USSF) Space Systems Command’s (SSC) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) Wide Field of View (WFOV) Testbed is scheduled to launch June 30, 2022. SSC’s GEO WFOV space vehicle was designed built and integrated by Millennium Space Systems, a Boeing Company, and will inform the future Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) architecture.

“With Wide Field of View, we’re advancing the technology we need to meet the growing threat environment,” said Col Heather Bogstie, Senior Materiel Leader for SSC’s Resilient Missile Warning, Tracking, and Defense Acquisition Delta. “GEO WFOV will also let us qualify a new satellite bus for GEO at significant cost savings.”

Roughly, one-fourth the size of the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS), WFOV is designed for a one to three year life in GEO. Its primary mission is to explore the ability for a single sensor to perform strategic and tactical missions simultaneously, by continuously monitoring up to one-third of the Earth’s surface. WFOV is also pathfinding prototype operationalization and Integrated Tactical Warning/Attack Assessment (ITW/AA) certification for future missions to follow.

“We are the complete small satellite package – design, build, integration, test and mission operations,” said Jason Kim, chief executive officer, Millennium Space Systems. “We were able to use our scalable flight-tested bus architecture to shorten WFOV’s development cycle.”

Sponsored by SSC and managed by the NASA Ames Research Center, the mid-sized GEO spacecraft will launch aboard USSF-12, a United Launch Alliance rocket. Having previously aced environmental testing, WFOV was declared ready to ship in June 2020. The spacecraft began its journey to the launch site January 31, 2022.

Media Contact: 

Dana Carroll, vice president, Marketing

Millennium Space Systems

About Millennium Space Systems

Millennium Space Systems, a Boeing Company, delivers high-performing prototype and constellation solutions across advanced national security and environmental observation missions. Founded in 2001, the company’s small satellite missions support government, civil and commercial space customers’ needs across orbits.