National's Spokesperson for Space congratulates Rocket Lab on CAPSTONE success

National’s Spokesperson for Space, Joseph Mooney MP, congratulates Rocket Lab on the historic milestone of the CAPSTONE CubeSat spacecraft reaching the Moon’s orbit recently after being launched from Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand.

“I was delighted by the news that CAPSTONE has completed another phase of its journey by arriving at its Moon orbit as part of NASA’s Artemis “Return to the Moon” mission”, says Mr Mooney.

“This historical event took place while I was hosting my inaugural Catalysing the Otago-Southland Space Industry event in Queenstown to discuss benefits to the region of New Zealand's progress as a space-faring nation, making the occasion particularly poignant.

“Five months ago, on 28 June, I was at Rocket Lab’s mission control to witness the historic launch of CAPSTONE from New Zealand on behalf of NASA. The news that it has successfully reached the Moon is simply phenomenal.

“To put this moment into perspective, when CAPSTONE reached Earth’s nearest neighbour, it was the first ever CubeSat to do so.

“It is also worth pointing out that this is the same orbit that will be used by Gateway, the Moon-orbiting Space Station with humans on board that will support NASA’s Artemis missions”, Mr Mooney says.

“It is hard to believe that twenty years ago, only a handful of nation-states could launch into Space. In a short time, New Zealand has become only the 11th country in the world to launch a spacecraft into orbit and the 6th country to launch a spacecraft to the Moon.

“This was a historic step in the world’s endeavours to return humans to the Moon. I commend Rocket Lab for bringing us closer to that goal.

“While it is still early days for the Space industry in New Zealand, we are already a true space-faring nation."