NASA is planning to experiment with a new orbit around the moon that it hopes to use for future missions. A small satellite will be the first to take the new path and test its reliability. The test satellite is from New Zealand and the initial stages of the launch were successful late Tuesday.
If everything else goes according to plan, the CAPSTONE CubeSat satellite will officially be the first to take the new path. At only the size of a microwave oven, the satellite will send vital information for at least 6 months.
In technical terms, the new orbit is called a near-rectilinear halo orbit. It features a stretched-out egg shape with one end passing close to the moon and the other far from it. Picture stretching a rubber band from your thumb, your thumb would represent the moon and the rubber band is the flight path.
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