The lunar module Odysseus makes history

The American private lunar lander Odysseus has landed on the moon, the first mission since the Apollo project that ended in the 1970s

A day after the first American moon landing in half a century, the new arrival on the moon was said to be “alive and well,” but flight controllers were still trying to get a better bearings.

Intuitive Machines reported Friday that it is communicating with its Odysseus lander and sending commands to collect scientific data. But he noted, “We continue to learn more about vehicle-specific information” regarding its location, general condition and positioning.

The Houston company targeted the south polar region near the Malapert A crater, closer to the pole than any other, so NASA could explore the area before the arrival of astronauts at the end of this decade.

With Thursday’s landing, Intuitive Machines became the first private company to land on the moon, a feat only five countries had achieved before. The mission was largely sponsored by NASA, whose experiments were on board. NASA paid $118 million for the delivery as part of a program to boost the lunar economy.

Dan Harrison, lead developer of Intuitive Machines’ motor control computer, applauds his colleagues during a viewing party shortly after they became the first commercial company to soft land on the Moon, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Houston.

The Odysseus lunar lander returns the United States to the moon for the first time since Apollo 1972. One of NASA’s experiments was launched when the lander’s navigation system failed in the final hours before landing. The lander made an extra loop around the moon so it could switch to NASA’s laser system at the last minute.

Read Also:  Brazil has presented a program to combat illegal logging in the Amazon

“Odie is a fighter,” mission director Tim Crain said late Thursday on X, formerly Twitter.

Another experiment didn’t go so well. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s EagleCam – a set of six cameras – had to be ejected 30 seconds before landing to capture distant images of the Odysseus landing. Instead, EagleCam landed, still attached to the lander.

The original plan had to be changed during the final orbit due to “unexpected events,” a university spokeswoman said.

Intuitive Machines is the second company to set its sights on the moon as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Services program. Last month, Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology tried, but a fuel leak in the lander interrupted the mission and the spacecraft ended up crashing back to Earth.

As of Thursday, the United States had not returned to the moon since Apollo 17’s Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt completed NASA’s famed lunar landing program in December 1972. NASA’s new project aims to return astronauts to the moon. Her name is Artemis, after the mythological twin sister of Apollo. The first landing of the Artemis crew on the moon is planned for 2026 at the earliest.

Photo: Odysseus crosses the far side of the moon after entering lunar orbit on February 21st. Photo: Intuitive Machines/NASA/X

Recent Articles

Related News

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here