The Odysseus spacecraft made by Houston-based Intuitive Machines has successfully landed on the surface of the moon. It marks the first time a spacecraft from a private company has landed on the lunar surface, and it’s the first US-made craft to reach the moon since the Apollo missions.
Odysseus was carrying NASA instruments, which the space agency said would be used to help prepare for future crewed missions to the moon under the Artemis program. NASA confirmed the landing happened at 6:23 PM ET on February 22. The lander launched from Earth on February 15, with the help of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Your order was delivered… to the Moon! 📦@Int_Machines' uncrewed lunar lander landed at 6:23pm ET (2323 UTC), bringing NASA science to the Moon's surface. These instruments will prepare us for future human exploration of the Moon under #Artemis. pic.twitter.com/sS0poiWxrU— NASA (@NASA) February 22, 2024
According to The New York Times, there were some “technical issues with the flight” that delayed the landing for a couple of hours. Intuitive Machines CTO Tim Crain told the paper that “Odysseus is definitely on the moon and operating but it remains to be seen whether the mission can achieve its objectives.” Odysseus has a limited window of about a week to send data back down to Earth before darkness sets in and makes the solar-powered craft inoperable.
Intuitive Machines wasn’t the first private company to attempt a landing. Astrobotic made an attempt last month with its Peregrine lander, but was unsuccessful. Intuitive Machines is planning to launch two other lunar landers this year.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-odysseus-spacecraft-has-become-the-first-us-spacecraft-to-land-on-the-moon-in-50-years-010041179.html?src=rss