How does this module work and what is its objective in the IM-1 mission?

The Odysseus module is already on its way to the Moon with one goal: to land on our precious satellite next Thursday, February 22nd, to conduct NASA experiments. This mission, IM-1, will be the United States’ first lunar landing since the now legendary Apollo 17 mission in 1972; It also represents a new attempt by private companies after the failed arrival of the Peregrine on the lunar surface. ButWhat is the Odiseo module? And what specific purpose does it serve in this project?

According to the company leading this project, Intuitive Machines, IM-1 aims to create an economical platform that will carry NASA scientific instruments as well as commercial cargo to the moon pave the way for a sustainable human presence in this natural satellite. In other words, as NASA has emphasized: “The goal is to study the Moon in preparation for Artemis.” The main goal of this mission is therefore to bring scientific instruments and technological demonstrations to the south polar region of the Moon, a part that is still unexplored.

For Intuitive Machines, this mission represents a pivotal moment in the participation of private companies in the space race. A position from which the American Aeronautics and Space Administration appears to want to distance itself: “We travel on the lunar module developed by the commercial industry; “These are not NASA missions, they are commercial missions,” said Daniel Cremons, one of the NASA researchers. However, he specified that the agency is ready to do business in a “different way” by building a “lunar economy” with the help of the private sector.

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In any case, IM-1 represents a monumental milestone in lunar exploration and revitalizes human interest in the Moon after a decades-long hiatus. The success of the IM-1 mission”will lay the foundation for a prosperous lunar economy, “It opens up new opportunities for research, trade and exploration, and brings humanity’s dream of becoming a multiplanetary species closer,” as Intuitive Machines points out.

NASA has already stated that the Odysseus module is equipped with a propulsion system that runs on an environmentally friendly mixture of oxygen and methane, both liquids. Already in orbit, Odysseus has separated from the Falcon 9 rocket and is heading for the moon. The module’s landing on the lunar surface is expected to occur about eight days after launch, on the 22nd. After landing, operations there are expected to last about seven days before the lunar night reaches the South Pole and renders Odysseus inoperable.

The landing takes place near the Malapert massif, about 300 kilometers from the moon’s south pole, an area full of “uncertainty” as detailed by NASA experts. Researchers believe the area is composed of lunar highland material, similar to the Apollo 16 landing site. The site is one of 13 regions NASA is considering for the Artemis III mission, which will be that program’s first manned mission and the first manned will be the flight of the SpaceX lander Starship HLS.

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