Intuitive Machines: FIRST Commercial company to land on the Moon!

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Intuitive machine moon landing

An American company has made history by being the first commercial company to land a spacecraft on the Moon.

Intuitive Machines, based in Houston, achieved this feat, marking the end of a fifty-year gap since the last American landing on the Moon during the Apollo missions in 1972.

Their spacecraft, called Odysseus robot, successfully touched down near the lunar south pole. Though it took a few minutes for controllers to confirm the landing, they eventually received a signal indicating success.

Flight director Tim Crain proudly announced, “We can confirm that our equipment is on the Moon’s surface and we are transmitting.” This news was met with cheers and applause from the company’s staff.

Intuitive Machines’s Nova Control based in Houston

This achievement is significant not only for commercial space endeavors but also for the overall progress of the US space program.

According to reports, NASA had booked space on Odysseus for six scientific instruments. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson promptly extended his congratulations to Intuitive Machines for what he termed a “triumphant” mission.

Nelson stated, “The US has made a comeback to the Moon. Today marks the first instance in human history where a commercial American company has spearheaded a mission to the Moon. This day demonstrates the strength and potential of NASA’s collaborations with commercial partners.”

Odysseus landed on the Moon at 23:23 GMT. Initially, there was no signal from the robot, causing considerable anxiety as time passed. Eventually, a faint communication link was established.

The lack of initial signal raised concerns about the status of the lander. However, within a couple of hours, Intuitive Machines reassured that Odysseus was standing upright and transmitting data, including images.

The spacecraft aimed to land in a crater-filled area near a tall mountain range called Malapert. This spot is the farthest south any spacecraft has ever reached on the Moon, at 80 degrees South.

Nasa is eyeing this location as a potential spot to send astronauts in the future as part of its Artemis program.

In this region, there are deep craters that never receive sunlight, meaning they stay in shadow all the time. Scientists believe there might be frozen water inside these craters.

Lori Glaze, NASA’s director of planetary science, explained why this ice is crucial: “Having ice on the Moon’s surface is important because it means we won’t have to carry as many supplies with us. We can use this ice to make drinkable water for astronauts. We can also extract oxygen and hydrogen from it, which can be used as fuel and for astronauts to breathe. So, having ice on the Moon helps us a lot in exploring it with humans.”

What are the main Objectives of this Mission?

Nasa loaded Odysseus with six different experiments, aiming to test new technology and gather scientific data.

One crucial experiment will study lunar dust, a problem faced by Apollo astronauts as it scratched and jammed their equipment. Scientists want to learn how landing crafts stir up this dust, causing it to hang in the air before settling back down.

Among the payloads are six commercial experiments. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University contributed a student camera system meant to capture selfies as Odysseus landed, while artist Jeff Koons added a special box containing 125 small stainless steel balls representing the Moon’s phases throughout a month.

Hope you liked our coverage on Intuitive Machines creating history by being the first commercial company to land on the moon.

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