The SLS rocket that took off on November 16 did not only carry the Orion spacecraft, which will welcome the crew during the next missions. It also dropped 10 cubesats, small satellites each with a different mission.
Launched just over 5 hours after liftoff, the LunaH-Map cubesat, designed to map the distribution and abundance of hydrogen near the moon’s South Pole, was scheduled to fire up its engine on November 17. But despite numerous attempts to turn on its propulsion system, it did not work, the company said. NASA Tuesday, November 22.
This prevented him from making his lunar flyby scheduled for November 21. NASA technicians believe it is a valve in the propulsion system that is stuck, possibly frozen. The ship was therefore instructed to heat it to unlock it.
If propulsion can be restored in the next few months, this cubesat could fulfill its mission, or at least part of it. “Along the spacecraft’s current trajectory, alternate trajectories are available to reach lunar orbit, including orbits that could allow low-altitude measurements of the lunar surface,” NASA wrote. If it takes even longer to heat up the valve and ignite the propulsion system, trajectory solutions outside the Earth-Moon system may exist to fly close to certain asteroids and characterize their hydrogen content.
NASA also ran into other problems, with a tiny lander failing to land on the Moon and a probe and science cubes remaining silent, says Space.com. On the side of the main mission and the Orion ship, everything seems to be going well. And NASA has released the first photo of the mascot Snoopy in space aboard the capsule, which is the zero G indicator. All is well, it is floating.