NASA loses contact with satellite as it breaks from Earth orbit on way to moon

NASA has admitted it has lost contact with its new satellite, meaning it could now hit the moon unsupervised.

The space agency’s CAPSTONE project enjoyed a successful start as it broke free from Earth’s orbit on Monday.

But the excitement has quickly come crashing down with the news that boffins can no longer communicate with their tech.

READ MORE: NASA baffled after 'mystery spacecraft' smashes into the Moon leaving odd crater

In a statement, a NASA spokesperson wrote: “Following successful deployment and start of spacecraft commissioning on July 4, the spacecraft experienced communications issues while in contact with the Deep Space Network.

“The spacecraft team currently is working to understand the cause and re-establish contact.”

They had previously claimed the project’s main advantages were its minimal fuel use and ability to stay in constant contact with Earth.

Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck described their mission as “incredibly, incredibly difficult to execute” and said to see it on the way to the moon was “absolutely epic”.

NASA is aiming for the microwave-sized satellite to reach the moon in fourth months, where it will be tasked with analysing a unique deep space orbit.

Data fed back to a scientists on Earth could help them assess whether the unusual orbit is suitable to host a space station.

It could be a key part of the plan to have lunar astronauts explore the moon’s south pole in the coming years.

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Scientists explained: “It will validate the power and propulsion requirements for maintaining its orbit as predicted by NASA's models, reducing logistical uncertainties.

“It will also demonstrate the reliability of innovative spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation solutions as well as communication capabilities with Earth.

“We have already learned a tremendous amount getting to this point, and we are passionate about the importance of returning humans to the Moon, this time to stay!"


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