The private lunar module Odysseus landed sideways on the moon, but all is not lost

Despite a crash landing that ended with the module spinning on the lunar surface, the mission was a success, according to NASA.

The Odysseus lunar module, developed by Intuitive Machines, is the first private mission to the moon and the first sent by the United States in more than 50 years. Unfortunately, Odysseus encountered serious problems while approaching and landing on the lunar surface, causing him to go awry. Despite initial concerns, the mission was hailed as a remarkable success by NASA and those responsible for the project.

During its descent to the Moon, the Odysseus lander had to touch the surface blindly because the laser sensors that measured its distance from the surface could not be used and the maneuver was instead performed using proximity calculations. This caused it to reach the surface at too high a speed and move horizontally when it should have descended vertically. This caused it to almost tip over and end up leaning. This incorrect position had two serious consequences: its communications antenna with Earth was not properly aligned, and the solar panels it relies on for energy were not fully aligned with the sun. But despite all odds, Odysseus continued to transmit valuable data to Earth, exceeding expectations for the duration of the mission.

Steve Altemus, CEO of Intuitive Machines, announced in a press conference that after a detailed analysis of the additional telemetry collected, it was determined that the module’s position was not as bad as initially feared. Contrary to predictions that Odysseus would no longer function the morning after the incident, the module has remained functional and is scheduled for a reactivation attempt in about three weeks, once the two-week lunar night has passed, when direct sunlight can flare up again – your systems with supply energy.

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This success is a testament to the robustness and advanced design of Odysseus, which Altemus says has carried out a successful mission so far and expects to continue the mission to the end as planned. This event represents a significant moment in the history of lunar exploration. Odysseus is the first module built by a commercial company to reach the lunar surface, the first American spacecraft to return to the Moon since the end of NASA’s Apollo Project in 1972 , and the first private module to transmit data from return to Earth.

The Odysseus mission featured a number of “firsts” and overcame critical challenges, including temporary communications delays and problems during approach maneuvers. Despite these setbacks, which were quickly resolved, the mission has delivered valuable data from its scientific and commercial payloads.

Intuitive Machines has not only demonstrated the viability of its liquid methane and liquid oxygen propulsion system in space, but also set a precedent for future lunar and commercial exploration. With a $118 million contract from NASA to deliver scientific payloads to the Moon and commercial customers like Columbia Sportswear boarding the spacecraft, the Odysseus mission sets the stage for an exciting new era of collaboration between the space agency and commercial companies leveled. The cost of the mission is several times lower than previous missions and lower than estimates for future missions. The age of travel begins low costs to our satellite.

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