Wikipedia's CAPSTONE(spacecraft); Spacecraft says:

The orbiter is a 12-unit CubeSat

but looking at the images in the new NASA video NASA 2021: Let's Go to the Moon I see artwork that shows Capstone as a square-based prism with the long side about twice the length of the other two, which looks like it's going to have a payload volume much more consistent with 16U than 12U.

Are they still calling it 12U? Does Rocket Lab say anything about their payload volume to the Moon or how large CAPSTONE is?

Screenshots from the linked NASA video (click for full size)

Screenshot from NASA 2021: Let's Go to the Moon Screenshot from NASA 2021: Let's Go to the Moon


Yes, it's a 12U "base" with a protruding antenna and related equipment. It's quite a custom spacecraft because it'll be demoing the Cislunar Autonomous Position System (among other things like "how to perform real-world navigation in an NRHO").

For CAPS, it will communicate with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter when it passes near its Moon periapse, and hence the custom antenna setup which makes it look like it isn't a 12U.

  • $\begingroup$ Is it possible to cite a source or reference that verifies 12U somehow? I did accept this answer which technically at least cited an authoritative source, but hopefully it is the exception that proves the rule (whatever that means) :-) $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 25 at 5:06
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    $\begingroup$ Can I simply say "personal knowledge" too? I was the payload specialist and onboard navigation lead on the mission. $\endgroup$ – ChrisR Mar 25 at 6:13
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    $\begingroup$ In this particular case it's okay with me $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 25 at 6:18

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