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NASA satellite breaks from orbit around Earth, heads to moon

New Zealand Rocket Launch
Posted at 10:41 PM, Jul 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 10:16:55-04

A satellite the size of a microwave oven successfully broke free from its orbit around Earth and is headed toward the moon.

It's the latest step in NASA's plan to land astronauts on the lunar surface again. The Capstone satellite will take four months to reach the moon as it cruises along using minimal energy. Rocket Lab company founder Peter Beck told The Associated Press the experience of seeing the project come together and send the spacecraft on the way to the moon was "just absolutely epic." The plan is for the satellite to orbit the moon in a stretched-out egg shape to save fuel and stay in contact with Earth.

NASA eventually plans to put a space station in the same orbital path.

Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck said it was hard to put his excitement into words.

“It’s probably going to take a while to sink in. It’s been a project that has taken us two, two-and-a-half years and is just incredibly, incredibly difficult to execute,” he said. “So to see it all come together tonight and see that spacecraft on its way to the moon, it’s just absolutely epic.”