A $32.7 million spacecraft that was on its way to the moon to test out an oblique lunar orbit has lost touch, according to NASA, but agency engineers are confident they can fix the issue.
The space agency reported on Monday that it was unable to interact with the Capstone spacecraft after one successful and two unsuccessful attempts.
According to NASA spokesperson Sarah Frazier, engineers are working to identify the root of the communications hiccup and are hopeful they can resolve it.
What Happened When Contact Was Lost With Spacecraft?
When contact was lost, the spacecraft, which had been launched from New Zealand on June 28 and had spent over a week in Earth orbit, had successfully kicked off its journey to the moon.
What Is NASA Planning?
NASA plans to launch its Gateway outpost in this oval orbit, and the 55-pound satellite, which is about the size of a microwave oven, will be the first spacecraft to try it out. Before making their trip to the lunar surface, astronauts would stage at Gateway.
The satellite—or a space station—can remain in constant contact with Earth thanks to the orbit’s ability to balance the masses of Earth and the moon. As a result, the orbit uses little fuel and little maneuvering.