US Makes Its First Moon Landing in Over 50 Years Using Private Spacecraft

For the first time in over 50 years, a private spacecraft has made a successful landing on the moon. The Odysseus moon lander, constructed by the Texas business Intuitive Machines, touched down on the moon’s surface on Thursday, according to NASA, the American space agency. Earlier, flight controllers reported that they had to activate an experimental landing method at the last minute due to issues with the lander’s navigation systems. Intuitive Machines officials also reported communication issues, although they said that after a lag, a signal was received from the lander.

 

“I know this was a nail-biter, but we are on the surface, and we are transmitting,” the company’s CEO, Steve Altemus, continued. Greetings from the moon. Intuitive Machines stated that flight controllers have “confirmed Odysseus is upright and starting to send data” in a message posted on X on Thursday night. The landing site was intended to be roughly 300 kilometers from the south pole of the moon. Although the region is primarily level, there are some big boulders, hills, and craters. Informing us about whether Odysseus had arrived at its intended landing spot was not something that Intuitive Machines officials could instantly address. Last month, Astrobotic Technologies, another American startup, made an attempt at a lunar landing. But the lander, Peregrine, that was developed privately.

 

The Apollo 17 mission by NASA marked the last American landing on the moon in 1972. The Soviet Union, China, Japan, India, and the United States are the five countries that have successfully landed spacecraft on the moon thus far. Japan only made its landing last month. The Odysseus mission was the first to land a privately manufactured spacecraft on the moon, and it was also the first American lunar landing since 1972. NASA and a number of private companies are using Odysseus to transport research equipment and technology demonstrations. Radio wave and space weather activity monitoring will be part of the experiments. Before the sun sets over the landing spot, the spacecraft is meant to run on solar power for seven days.

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