Advanced Space Updates Moon Navigation Experiment

Advanced Space has announced updates since the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) was launched last year.  The company said it was able to demonstrate spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation technology called the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System (CAPS).

Not everything was great.  Last July, after CAPSTONE separated from its launch vehicle, it went silent. Two days later, the company determined what caused the problem, a thruster anomaly, and recovered communications with the spacecraft.

Advanced Space makes update on CAPSTONE demonstration (Image: Advanced Space).

By successfully sending a signal to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and receiving it back, the company said CAPSTONE processed measurements computed from the signal to determine the position and velocity of both spacecraft.  The company said the shared information can serve a purpose like GPS for spacecraft and surface vehicles at the Moon.

As part of CAPSTONE’s technology demonstrations, the spacecraft is equipped with a Chip Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC) to demonstrate one-way, uplink navigation, the company said. The precise timing of the CSAC is used in conjunction with an uplink signal on the ground to compute range and Doppler measurements on the spacecraft as part of the CAPS navigation technology to estimate the spacecraft’s state, the company said.

Contact:  Caitlin Davis, Advanced Space,,


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