NASA’s CAPSTONE Mission Launches to the Moon

The spacecraft, called CAPSTONE, is about the size of a microwave oven.

At 9:55 p.m. local time (5:55 a.m. Eastern time), a 59-foot-tall rocket carrying CAPSTONE lifted off from a launchpad along the eastern coast of New Zealand

CAPSTONE is inexpensive, costing just under $30 million including the launch by Rocket Lab,

The first two stages of Electron rocket placed CAPSTONE into an elliptical orbit around Earth.

The full name of the mission is the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment.

That would make it easier for astronauts to reach more parts of the moon.

The gravitational interactions also keep the orbit at about a 90-degree angle to the line-of-sight view from Earth.

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