On June 28, 2022, NASA launched a 55-pound Cube Satellite called CAPSTONE, or Cislunar Autonomous Position System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, in an attempt to establish a near-rectilinear halo orbit around the moon. On Nov. 16, CAPSTONE reached its target. This tiny satellite is groundbreaking in several ways beyond its scientific achievements, most notably in the comparatively low costs it took to carry out this project.
CAPSTONE was not designed, built, or even operated by NASA. In fact, it’s not owned by NASA. It is owned by its developer, Colorado-based Advanced Space. The CAPSTONE launch and development ended up being