nasa location usa

Wernher von Braun and his team must have felt as they prepared to put man on the moon. And now you can learn about NASA's current plans (and Huntsville's role. A NASA site in California is being considered as a potential location to house the growing number of migrants coming across the border. Compare 118 hotels near NASA Ames Research in Mountain View using 21661 real guest reviews. Search. Mountain View, California, United States of America.

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Opening March 2022

Gateway interior rendering

The Thrill is Within Reach

Opening March 2022, explore the future of space exploration at Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex only at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. 

Learn More

Front gates at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex with the Rocket Garden in the background

Explore Must See Attractions

With so much to explore, where do you begin?

From the dawn of space exploration to current and ongoing missions, you can get an up-close, hands-on feel for the story of humans in space. Fuel your quest for inspiration right here.

Explore Attractions

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Guide app

Kennedy Space Center Official Guide

Save a Map. Download the free App!

Plan your trip with features such as maps, FAQ's, favorites and detailed descriptions of shows and attractions.


Download the app on the Apple StoreGet it on Google Play

Moon Tree Garden at the Apollo/Saturn V Center
Plan Your Visit to the Apollo/Saturn V Center

Go behind NASA’s gates to the Apollo/Saturn V Center again. Learn more about how you can add this one-of-a-kind attraction to your day with the new transportation reservation process which has been developed with your health and safety in mind.

Read More



Incredible historic place. Wish my grandkids lived closer, this place would be so exciting for them. We only spent 4+ hours but even a full day won’t be enough. Seeing the rockets and space shuttle were breathtaking. Go 😃...

Trip Advisor user Linda D, February 2020

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What is the full form of NASA

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NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA full form

NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It is a USA government agency that works for the civilian space program as well as for aeronautics, scientific discovery, Earth and aerospace research. It was established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act on 1 October 1958 by president Dwight D. Eisenhower. It deals with the development of peaceful applications (rather than military) in space science and is the in-charge of the U.S. science and technology that deals with space exploration and airplanes.

NASA is led by an Administrator. As of July 2019, Jim Bridenstine is the 13th administrator of NASAA and James W. Morhard is the 14th Deputy Administrator of NASA.

NASA Vision: To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.

The headquarters of NASA is in Washington, and it has 10 NASA centers across the United States. It also has 7 NASA workplaces for testing and studying Earth and space. NASA's work can be divided into four different types:

  1. Aeronautics: It is responsible for the development of advanced aviation technologies.
  2. Human Exploration and Operations: It deals with the management of manned space missions, international space station as well as operations related to launching services, space transportation, and space communications for both manned and robotic exploration programs.
  3. Science: It deals with the programs designed for understanding the origin, structure, evolution, and future of the Earth, the solar system, and the universe.
  4. Space Technology: It deals with the development of space science and exploration technologies.

Space Flight Programs:

NASA has conducted both manned and unmanned space flight programs. Some of its famous space flight programs are as follows:

1) Manned Space Programs: Some of NASA's major manned space program are as follows:

  • X-15 Rocket Plane: (1959-1968)
  • Project Mercury: (1959-1963)
  • Project Gemini: (1961-1966)
  • Project Apollo: (1961-1972): Apollo was one of the most expensive NASA scientific program ever. It cost more than $20 billion in 1960. At present, its estimated value is almost $205 billion. The first Moon landing manned spacecraft was Apollo 11 mission in July 1969. The first person who lands on the Moon was Neil Armstrong.
  • Skylab: (1965-1979)
  • Space Shuttle Program: (1972-2011) etc.

2) Unmanned Space Programs:

There are over 1000 unmanned missions of NASA to explore the Earth and other planets in the solar system. Furthermore, NASA also launches communication satellites for the welfare of human society.

Some of the important unmanned space programs are listed below:

  • Explorer 1: The first US unmanned satellite.
  • Viking 1: The first successful landing on Mars in 1976.
  • Pioneer 10: First spacecraft to visit Jupiter
  • Pioneer 11: First spacecraft to visit Saturn
  • Voyager 2: the first spacecraft to visit Uranus and Neptune etc.

NASA Grant Program Highlights:

i) Space Grant: NASA introduced the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, which is also known as a Space Grant, in 1989. It is a network of colleges and universities which work to create and expand opportunities for Americans to understand and participate in space and aeronautics projects of NASA by supporting and improving science and engineering education, research, and public outreach efforts.

ii) NASA Research Opportunities: NASA's overall mission is to support research in the field of science and technology. It solicits the research by releasing research announcements in various science and technology disciplines. Through a peer-review process, it evaluates and selects research proposals received in response to these research announcements.

iii) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs: These are NASA?s programs to fund the research, development, and demonstration of innovative technologies that fulfill the needs of NASA and have huge potential for successful commercialization.

iv) International Space Station Funding Opportunities: NASA funding is available through NASA Research Announcements (NRAs). There are various typing funding available to scientists to be used for International Space Station (ISS) research and development, payload development and processing, on-orbit operation, and more. National Laboratory funding for space station use is obtained through research opportunities with other government agencies as well as with entities in the private and non-profit sectors.

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NASA lands rover and first-ever helicopter on Mars

It may be last but by no means least — NASA's Mars 2020 is the third mission to have successfully arrived at the Red Planet in the space of 10 days. It's the USA's largest Mars rover and it's carrying the first-ever Mars helicopter.

The "show," as NASA put it, started late morning Pacific Time (early evening in Central Europe). But it was another two hours before the USA's latest rover, Perseverance, touched down on the surface of Mars at 20:56 UTC. 

To land on Mars, the rover started its descent at a speed of over 20,000 kilometers per hour (12,000 miles per hour). A parachute and a powered descent mechanism then slowed the rover to about 3 km/h before a large sky crane lowered it on three bridle cords down to the surface of the planet, touching down on its six wheels.

This photo made available by NASA shows the first image sent by the Perseverance rover showing the surface of Mars, just after landing in the Jezero crater

This photo made available by NASA shows the first image sent by the Perseverance rover showing the surface of Mars, just after landing in the Jezero crater

Illustration of NASA's new rover, Perseverance, and helicopter, Ingenuity

Martian duo: NASA's new rover, Perseverance, and helicopter, Ingenuity

Popular landing site

As planned, Perseverance landed at Jezero Crater, just north of the Martian equator, in a region called Isidis Planitia. 

It's a region well-traveled by American landers, including the Curiosity rover, which is still active. But Curiosity is about 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) away at Gale Crater. 

Utopia Planitia is also not too far away, relatively speaking. That's where China intends to land its first Mars rover in May.

Three missions

Three Mars missions launched in July 2020. Aside from NASA's Mars 2020, there is the Emirates Mars Mission and China's Tianwen-1.

The UAE and Chinese missions are centered around spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet. But as mentioned above, Tianwen-1 will also attempt to land a rover on Mars later this year. 

The UAE's Hope Probe: One of three current Mars missions

The UAE's Hope Probe: One of three current Mars missions

By far the more experienced Mars explorer is the USA. And they have gone straight for the jugular, and that with an added bonus. 

First, it's landed Perseverance, NASA's largest-ever Mars rover. The rover will search for water and other signs of life below the surface of the planet. 

For future missions

It will also collect rock and soil samples and deposit them in canisters, which — it is planned — will be collected by joint US and European missions and brought back to Earth within the next 10 years. 

Illustration of the Mars rover Perseverance drilling for rock samples

The Perseverance rover drilling for rock: It's the first step in USA/European missions to bring Martian samples back to Earth

Then, there's that helicopter, Ingenuity, strapped to the belly of the rover. 

The helicopter is an experimental device that NASA wants to use to learn about taking off and flying in the Martian atmosphere. That's significant because the atmosphere there is far thinner than that on Earth, and that can affect flight — the amount of power and lift you need, and the speed at which the helicopter blades rotate. 

Whether it works or not is almost irrelevant at this stage, because no matter what happens, it will be the first time any spacefaring nation will have tested flight "on another world," as the American space agency has described it.  

Beyond that, those test flights will potentially pave the way for future missions with astronauts going to Mars and coming back, even if that's in 30 years' time.  

Illustration of NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity

The Mars helicopter is more like a drone, but it's hoped it will deliver valuable knowledge about flying on another world

Collaborating endeavors

The Emirates Mars Mission involves a satellite called Hope. It was the first of these three missions to successfully arrive at Mars when it entered the planet's orbit on February 9, 2021. 

It will spend two years running tests at various altitudes and aims to provide the global science community with the first complete picture of the Martian atmosphere. 

It's also pegged to the UAE's ambition of moving away from a hydrocarbon economy towards a knowledge-based economy. It's formed a number of international collaborations with universities in the USA and elsewhere to help it do that.

China's Tianwen-1 Mars probe

China's Tianwen-1 Mars probe

On February 10, 2021, the Tianwen-1 orbiter entered its orbit of Mars. The Chinese orbiter will also investigate the Martian atmosphere. And in three months, it is scheduled to land China's first rover on the planet as well. 

As with NASA's Perseverance rover, China will be searching for signs of life on Mars, including water below the surface of the planet. 

Competing for the stars

A number of countries and organizations have expressed an interest in working with China on its space exploration missions. 

Some sources have suggested, however, that if any fears of a new space race were justified, China would be one of the main competitors — possibly with the rest of the world on the other side. 

A woman wearing a spacesuit walking out of Mars Base 1, a C-Space Project, in the Gobi Desert

A woman wearing a spacesuit walking out of "Mars Base 1", a C-Space Project, in the Gobi Desert

One reason for that particular suspicion is that while the USA and Europe are collaborating on a new "Artemis" moon program, which includes ground and orbiting bases, China looks set to establish its own bases in space. 

But that is a very closed view. There are many other countries in the space community, including India and Israel, and most recently even Turkey has announced a new space program. 

Most experts view any success in space as a success for all humankind, no matter how the knowledge and spoils are shared.

NASA points out that only about 40% of the missions ever sent to Mars — by any space agency — have been successful. So, every attempt can be applauded, if it's done for the right reasons and where the money is not better spent elsewhere. It's perhaps telling that even with the USA's track record in space, Perseverance is only the fifth NASA rover to have attempted — and now succeeded — to land on Mars.

  • NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover.

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    A new rover for the red planet

    NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover (shown in artist's illustration) is the most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to Mars. Ingenuity, a technology experiment, will be the first aircraft to attempt controlled flight on another planet. Perseverance touched down at Mars' Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021 at about 20:57 UTC with Ingenuity attached to its belly.

  • Mars Perseverance Mission (NASA)

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    Everything prepared

    NASA engineers loaded the Mars rover Perseverance onto an Atlas V rocket at the start of July 2020. The rocket took off on July 30 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rover arrived at the orbit around Mars in early February 2021.

  • NASA 2020 Rover presented in a clean room

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    Presentation in a clean room

    This is how Perseverance looked when it was presented to the public in 2019. The rover will support NASA's Curiosity rover, the most modern rover until Perseverance came along. The new rover weighs a little over a ton — 100 kg (220 pounds) more than its predecessor. And at 3 meters (10 ft) long, it's also 10 centimeters longer as well.

  • NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover.

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    More performance

    Perseverance can be loaded with more research instruments and sensors than its predecessor. And its gripper arm, with its cameras and tools, is stronger, too. The rover can collect samples from Mars. It's got 23 cameras and many other instruments. One mission is to test whether it's possible to extract oxygen from Martian rock. But, hey, what's that standing next to the rover on the ground?

  • USA NASA Mars Helikopter (NASA/Cory Huston)

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    A small drone

    That's right! Perseverance has a helicopter onboard. That's never happened on a planetary mission before. The helicopter is completely new territory for its developers. It will be the first time they're able to experience and collect data from flight in atmospheric conditions that are different from those on Earth, and in a gravity that is about a third of our own.

  • NASA Mars-Mission Curiosity

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    The robotic giant

    Curiosity is the largest and most modern of all Mars rovers currently deployed. It landed on August 6, 2012, and has since traveled more than 21 kilometers (13 miles). It is much more than just a rover. Its official name is "Mars Science Laboratory," and it really is a complete lab on wheels.

  • Curiosity Mars NASA

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    What's in it?

    For example, it contains a special spectrometer, which can analyze chemical compounds from a distance with the help of a laser; a complete meteorological station that can measure temperature, atmospheric pressure, radiation, humidity and wind speed; and most importantly, a chemistry lab that can run detailed analyses of organic compounds and is always on the hunt for traces of alien life.

  • Picture of Curiosity's drill

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    Not just scratching the surface

    Curiosity has shown that life would theoretically be possible on Mars. But it hasn't discovered any life, yet. The robot's arm is equipped with a full power drill. Here, it's taking a sample in "Yellowknife Bay" inside the Gale Crater.

  • Mars Leben Curiosity

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    Off to the lab!

    The Mars dust is processed by a large number of instruments. First, it's filtered and separated into different-sized particles. Then, those get sorted and sent off to different analytical laboratory machines.

  • The spacecraft Pathfinder with the rover Sojourner

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    A tiny predecessor

    Curiosity's predecessors were much smaller. On July 4, 1997, the small Mars rover Sojourner left its first tire tracks behind in the dust of the red planet. It was the first time a mobile robot had been left to its own devices there, equipped with an X-ray spectrometer to conduct chemical analyses and with optical cameras.

  • Three generations of Mars rovers at JPL's Mars Yard testing area

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    Size comparison

    Three rover generations. (The tiny one up front is Sojourner.) At 10.6 kilograms (23 pounds), it's not much bigger than a toy car. Its top speed: 1 centimeter per second. Opportunity weighs 185 kilograms — roughly the equivalent of an electric wheelchair. Curiosity is as big as a small car, at 900 kilograms. The big ones travel up to 4 or 5 centimeters per second.

  • Sojourner on Mars amid rocky landscape

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    Almost four months of duty

    Sojourner travelled about 100 meters during its lifetime and delivered data and pictures until September 27, 1997. This is one of the last pictures of it, taken nine days before the radio connection broke down. Sojourner probably died because the battery did not survive the cold nights.

  • Mars rover Opportunity

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    Paving the way for tomorrow's technology

    Without the experience of Sojourner, newer rovers could have hardly been envisaged. In 2004, NASA landed two robots of the same model on Mars: Spirit and Opportunity. Spirit survived for six years, travelling a distance of 7.7 kilometers. The robot climbed mountains, took soil samples and withstood winter and sandstorms. Its sibling, Opportunity, lost contact on February 13, 2019.

  • Mars Rover Opportunity Greifarm

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    Lots of gadgets

    Opportunity passed the marathon distance of 42 kilometers back in 2015, and to this day, it has covered much more ground than Curiosity. It can take ground probes with its arm. It has three different spectrometers and even a 3D camera. It was last operating in "Perseverance Valley," an appropriate workplace for the sturdy robot, before being incapacitated by a sandstorm.

  • A picture showing part of Mount Sharp on Mars

    NASA's rover Perseverance has landed on Mars

    The red planet's landscapes

    This panorama was taken by Curiosity's mast camera. The most modern of the rovers will stay in service as long as possible — hopefully at least another five years. The Martian landscape looks familiar somehow, not unlike some deserts here on Earth. Should we give in to our wanderlust, then — or would it be better leave Mars to the robots?

    Author: Fabian Schmidt


: Nasa location usa

Nasa location usa
Nasa location usa

You might see something streaking across the sky this weekend, but it won’t be a meteor from the Eta Aquarid meteor shower.

NASA is scheduled to launch a rocket from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia for a special space experiment, and it could be visible from many eastern states, including New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

UPDATE (MAY 8):NASA has scrubbed Saturday night’s launch “due to upper level winds not being within the required limits for a safe launch.” The launch has been rescheduled for 8:03 p.m. Sunday, May 9, with a 40-minute launch window.

The launch is scheduled for 8:02 p.m. on Saturday, May 8. NASA says there’s a 40-minute launch window, so the rocket could go up a little later than the official launch time. (The launch was originally targeted for Friday night, but it was pushed back to Saturday.)

ALSO: Chinese rocket expected to fall to Earth this weekend. Should we be worried?

According to a map provided by NASA, the rocket may be visible from far southern New Jersey within 10 seconds of the launch, from most areas of New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania and New York City from 10 to 30 seconds after launch, and from far northern New Jersey, most of Pennsylvania and most of New Nasa location usa state from 30 to 60 nasa location usa after the launch.

NASA says two harmless vapor clouds will form north of Bermuda about 9 minutes and 30 seconds after launch as part of the mission and those clouds may also be visible from the eastern United States.

NASA rocket launch viewing times 5-7-21

“Immediately after release of the vapor, the spherical clouds are a mixture of green and violet, but that phase only lasts about 30 seconds when the un-ionized component of the cloud has diffused away,” NASA says. “After exposure to sunlight, the vapor clouds quickly ionize and take on a violet color.”

Viewing tips

Chris Bakley, an astronomy expert and astro-photographer from South Jersey, said no special equipment — such as a telescope or binoculars — is needed to see the rocket or vapor clouds. But clear skies and a clear view of the southeast horizon are essential.

“The closer the launch is to sunset, the harder it will be to see,” Bakley noted. So an earlier launch time would be best for people trying to see the rocket.

Weather outlook

In case the rocket launch gets postponed because of bad weather or other reasons, NASA has backup launch days running through May 16.

As of now, the National Weather Service is calling for mostly sunny skies along the eastern shore of Virginia during the day on Saturday, with a slight chance of rain before 2 p.m., then mostly clear skies Saturday night.

Here in New Jersey, the viewing conditions could be marred by clouds in some parts of the state Saturday night, with forecasters calling for partly cloudy skies and a chance of rain showers before 8 p.m. in the northern region, partly cloudy skies in the central region, but mostly clear skies in the southern region.

The NASA mission is officially known as KiNet-X and “the goal is to study how energy and momentum is transported between regions of space that are connected magnetically,” according to CBS News in Boston. “This study will help scientists better understand things like Auroras and how they are formed and their movement from place to place.”

Note: This post was updated Thursday evening with the new scheduled launch date and updated weather forecasts for Virginia and New Jersey.

Thank you for relying on us to provide the local news you can trust. Please consider supporting with a voluntary subscription.

Len Melisurgo may be reached at [email protected].


U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Huntsville is home to the largest space museum in the world: the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Not only is America’s space program on exhibit in Huntsville, it food pantries open on monday near me forged in Huntsville. We’re known as the “Rocket City” because Huntsville, Alabama is where rockets were developed that put men on the moon. When you visit this attraction, you can’t help but feel the anticipation Dr. Wernher von Braun nasa location usa his team must have felt as they prepared to put man on the moon. And now you can learn about NASA's current plans (and Huntsville’s role in it) to travel to Mars with the world’s most powerful rocket – the Space Launch System(SLS).

Health and Safety Highlights for Your Next Visit

  • Operating hours have changed to allow more time for cleaning and sanitizing. Click here to see current hours of operation.
  • Pre-purchased tickets are encouraged.
  • Face coverings are required for all guests ages 3 and up. Masks are available for purchase for $1.00.
  • Staff will be re-enforcing social distancing in queue-lines, at exhibits, and throughout the campus.
  • The USSRC is frequently sanitizing and disinfecting across all museum spaces.
  • Hand sanitizer stations have been installed throughout the museum.
  • Some exhibits have been temporarily closed where social distancing is not possible. Click here for a list of open areas.

Lunar Capsule at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL

A space enthusiast, history buff, appreciator of the arts, or anyone with a general curiosity for how the world works would enjoy Alabama’s top tourism jewel. Where else can one stand beneath the world’s nasa location usa full-stack Space Shuttle, complete with two solid rocket boosters and external tank? Or walk the length of a suspended authentic Saturn V moon rocket?

External view of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL

Permanent Collections

The spaceflight collection doesn’t stop there. In true Huntsville fashion, you’ll find history celebrated along with progress. The permanent museum collection covers everything from:

  • The first American satellite, Explorer I
  • Original capsule trainers for the Mercury and Gemini programs
  • Design modules for the International Space Station
  • Next generation vehicles, such as Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser
  • Current models for SLS

The Davidson Center at night at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Traveling Exhibits

As a Smithsonian Institute affiliate, the Rocket Center attracts international traveling exhibits that have featured everything from Da Vinci, prehistoric mammals, animal robots and Star Wars. 

INTUITIVE® Planetarium and Other Attractions

Opened in 2019, the new INTUITIVE® Planetarium offers astronomy shows, live entertainment and theater experiences. See documentaries in 3D on the 52-foot screen of the National Geographic Theater. For the thrill-seekers, there’s the “Space Shot,” where you’ll feel 4 Gs of force as you launch 140 feet in the air in 2.5 seconds, or you can experience three times the force of gravity as you spin in the "G-Force Accelerator.”  

Viewers in the planetarium at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL

U.S. Space Camp Training Center

As if that weren’t enough while you’re at the Rocket Center, you’ll get a birds-eye view of Space Camp where more than 750,000 students (and adults) have conducted simulated missions.

Fun Fact: Did you know that five space camp graduates have gone on to become astronauts? And all five are women – too cool!

Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL


Apollo 11 and Artemis 1

On July 16, 1969 at 9:32 a.m. at NASA’s Launch Pad 39A, Apollo 11’s five F1 engines on Nasa’s Saturn-V AS-506 rocket ignited to slowly lift three Americans and humankind’s dreams aboard the historic mission to the Moon. On the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 in 2019, Huntsville danced in the streets, toasted Apollo workers and moonwalkers, and lead a rocket launch nasa location usa thousands around the world as part of its celebration. As the Artemis 1 launch prepares to take humankind back to the moon, Huntsville is ready to celebrate again! Make plans to visit the Rocket City in 2021 to experience the magic of launch time, along with special events and activities.

Artemis - launching soon


Mission To The Moon

Supporting NASA's mission to return humans to the Moon


In 2021 Rocket Lab will launch a CubeSat into lunar orbit for NASA. This historic pathfinding mission supports NASA’s Artemis program which will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024.

Using our Electron rocket and Photon Lunar spacecraft, Rocket Lab will launch NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) CubeSat to a unique lunar orbit.

CAPSTONE’s primary objective is to test and verify the calculated orbital stability of a near rectilinear halo orbit around the Moon, the same orbit planned for the Lunar Gateway. The Gateway is a planned small space station that will orbit around the Moon to provide astronauts with access to the lunar surface. It will feature living quarters for astronauts, a lab for science and research and ports for visiting spacecraft. CAPSTONE will also test a navigation system that will measure its position relative to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) without relying on ground stations.

CAPSTONE is one of the first steps to learn how to operate more robust missions in this orbit - it's laying the groundwork for future exploration of our solar system. 

How We're Getting There

The Rocket

The Electron launch vehicle is CAPSTONE’s ride to space. Launching since 2017, Rocket Lab's Electron rockets have delivered 105 satellites to orbit on time and on target. Electron will provide the Photon Lunar nasa location usa bus and CAPSTONE CubeSat with the initial ride to low Earth orbit.

electron moon

The Spacecraft

Once Electron reaches low Earth orbit, our Photon Lunar spacecraft takes the reigns to put CAPSTONE into Lunar orbit.

A reliable spacecraft bus is at the core of successful space missions. It’s the lifeline for payloads, providing power, propulsion, communications, pointing and more.

Photon will orbit the Earth in elliptical orbits over nine days to build up velocity for a Trans Lunar Injection to deploy CAPSTONE into an orbit around the Moon.

The Launch Site


CAPSTONE will be launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, located on New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula.

Launch Complex 1 09 small

The Payload

CAPSTONE will be the first satellite to operate in a near rectilinear halo orbit around the Moon. This unique orbit is the planned orbit for NASA’s Gateway – a planned small space station that will orbit around the Moon to provide astronauts with access to the lunar surface. CAPSTONE aims to reduce risk and validate operational concepts for future missions using the same lunar orbit. 

In this orbit, CAPSTONE will rotate together with the Moon as it orbits Earth and will pass as close as 1600km and as far as 70000 km from the lunar surface. About the nasa location usa of a microwave oven, this 25kg satellite has an onboard communications system capable nasa location usa determining how far CAPSTONE is from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and how fast the distance between the two spacecraft is changing. The inter-spacecraft information will be used to demonstrate software for autonomous navigation, allowing future missions to determine their location without having to rely exclusively on tracking from Earth.

capstone moon

The Team

The mission is supported by the hundreds of women and men of Rocket Lab at our Long Beach Headquarters, our launch sites and our production facilities.

Right now, and in the months to come before lift-off, our team members are building the Electron rocket for this mission, developing the Photon Lunar spacecraft, designing mission trajectories, readying the launch pad and preparing systems for the mission.

We’re proud to be working alongside NASA and industry partners Advanced Space and Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems to deliver this historic mission and play our part in humanity’s return to the Moon.

Birds of a Feather

Look The Part

Rocket Lab Moon merchandise available now.


Zoom Earth shows live weather satellite images of the Earth in a fast, zoomable map. Explore near real-time weather images, rainfall radar maps, and animated wind maps. Track tropical cyclones, severe storms, wildfires, natural hazards and more.

Sources and Acknowledgements

  • Live weather images are updated every 10 minutes from NOAA GOES and JMA Himawari-8 geostationary satellites. EUMETSAT Meteosat images are updated every 15 minutes. Blue clouds at night represent low-lying clouds and fog.
  • Tropical cyclone tracks and forecast maps are created using the most recent data from NHC, JTWC, NRL and IBTrACS.
  • Animated surface wind speed forecast maps are generated using the NOAA-NWS GFS model.
  • Rain radar maps are provided by RainViewer. Coverage is limited to areas with radar, and may show anomalies.
  • Heat maps show the locations of wildfires and sources of high temperature using data from FIRMS and InciWeb.
  • Imagery at higher zoom levels is provided by Microsoft.
  • HD weather satellite images are updated twice a day from NASA-NOAA polar-orbiting satellites Suomi-NPP, and MODIS Aqua and Terra, using services from GIBS, part of EOSDIS. Imagery is captured at approximately 10:30 local time for “AM” and 13:30 local time for “PM”.


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