After going silent shortly after being deployed earlier this week, a lunar CubeSat's communications have now been restored by spacecraft operators.

On June 28, CAPSTONE was propelled into orbit around the Earth by a Rocket Lab Electron booster. The spacecraft then spent the following week spiraling away from Earth by firing sporadic Photon engines. The CubeSat quickly detached from the spacecraft bus following the final Photon fire on Monday, which provided CAPSTONE with enough of a kick to send it toward the moon.

The 25-kilogram (55-pound) CAPSTONE went dark immediately after it parted ways with its Rocket Lab Photon spacecraft vehicle and started its journey to the moon. The mission team started troubleshooting right away, and their attempts have already yielded results.

The agency and the business both stated that they are still looking into what caused the communications to misfire. At 9:26 a.m., following troubleshooting, controllers picked up a signal from the spacecraft. Nearly an hour later, it received full and eastern telemetry proving that the spacecraft was operational.

In a statement about the spacecraft's condition, Advanced Space said, "By the effort over the previous day, the team has great confidence that the issue has been addressed and through changes to the setup and operations it will not happen again." Based on ground-based tests, NASA claimed in its statement that the loss of contact "was triggered during commissioning activities of the communications system."

The CubeSat's initial trajectory-correction engine burn, which was intended to take place yesterday, had to be postponed due to the loss of contact, according to the CAPSTONE team. However, NASA officials say that shouldn't be a significant concern because the spacecraft has enough fuel to handle a delay of "a few days" in this initial run.

CAPSTONE is currently en route to the moon in a highly elliptical orbit known as a near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO), which NASA has chosen for its Gateway space station. A lunar NRHO has never been occupied, and CAPSTONE is tasked with confirming its stability for Gateway, a crucial component of NASA's

The journey to its goal will take some time for CAPSTONE, an acronym for "Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment." The cubesat is traveling to the moon in a long, looping, and extremely fuel-efficient manner since it was launched on the 58-foot-tall (19 meters) Electron, a rocket intended to put small satellites into Earth orbit. If all goes as planned, CAPSTONE will enter its NRHO on Nov. 13.