Intuitive Machines Odysseus Lands on the Moon

Intuitive Machines mission control during the descent and landing of the Odysseus spacecraft. Credit Intuitive Machines.

It was a nail bitting experience and it took some time to get confirmation, but Intuitive Machines has successfully landed its robotic spacecraft Odysseus on the Moon’s south pole. It is the first time in over 50 years that an American spacecraft has landed on the Moon and the first ever successful south pole landing as well as the first successful commercial landing.

Intuitive Machines Nova-C lander in lunar orbit Feb. 21. Credit: Intuitive Machines.
Intuitive Machines enters lunar orbit Feb. 21. Credit: Intuitive Machines.

Intuitive Machines posted the news on X (formerly known as Twitter) saying “after troubleshooting communications, flight controllers have confirmed Odysseus is upright and starting to send data. Right now, we are working to downlink the first images from the lunar surface.”

On its Artemis blog NASA issued the following statement, “Carrying NASA science and technology to the Moon, Intuitive Machines’ uncrewed lunar lander touched down at 5:23 p.m. CST on Thursday. The instruments aboard Odysseus will prepare NASA for future human exploration of the Moon under Artemis. Additional updates will be available Friday, Feb. 23.”

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson also took to X (formerly known as Twitter) saying “Today, for the first time in half a century, America has returned to the Moon 🇺🇸. On the eighth day of a quarter-million-mile voyage, @Int_Machines aced the landing of a lifetime. What a feat for IM, @SpaceX & @NASA.”

The spacecraft did encounter some technical issues ahead of descent and landing and had to use alternative guidance system for the landing. As soon as we have more details, including the first pictures from the surface, we’ll post an update including a status on the Canadian payloads.

11:52 a.m. EST update: Intuitive Machines posted the following update this morning

“Lunar Surface Day One Update (23FEB2024 0818 CST) Odysseus is alive and well. Flight controllers are communicating and commanding the vehicle to download science data. The lander has good telemetry and solar charging. We continue to learn more about the vehicle’s specific information (Lat/Lon), overall health, and attitude (orientation). Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus will participate in a press conference later today to discuss this historic moment. Press conference information will be coordinated with NASA and published shortly.”

Watch a replay of the Intuitive Machines descent and landing

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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