App State TailGate

Intuitive Machines Lunar Lander Set for Thursday Launch to the Moon

NASA’s Artemis program took a step forward early on Thursday morning with the launch of a robotic lunar lander named Odysseus, set to make a soft touchdown on the moon’s surface. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1:05 a.m. Eastern time. The mission is the latest private effort to send spacecraft to the moon, with Intuitive Machines of Houston leading the charge. The company’s president, Stephen Altemus, expressed confidence in the mission’s success after extensive testing.

If all goes well, the lander will reach the moon and prepare for landing near a crater named Malapert A on Feb. 22, marking the first American soft landing on the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. The landing site, located about 185 miles from the lunar south pole, presents an opportunity to explore the potential presence of frozen water, a key resource for future space missions.

The Odysseus lander, also known as Nova-C, stands at 14 feet tall and 5 feet wide, resembling an old British phone booth in size. At launch, with a full load of propellant, it weighs about 4,200 pounds. NASA is the primary customer for the mission, paying Intuitive Machines $118 million to deliver its payloads, which include a laser retroreflector array, a LIDAR instrument, a stereo camera, a low-frequency radio receiver, and more.

This achievement comes after a recent setback in space exploration, when another American spacecraft, Astrobotic Technology’s Peregrine lander, experienced a malfunction with its propulsion system shortly after launch, preventing any possibility of landing. Both Odysseus and Peregrine are part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, with the goal of using commercial companies to send experiments to the moon on NASA’s behalf.

Opinion on the topic is divided, with some experts viewing the successful launch of Odysseus as a crucial step in advancing space exploration, while others point to the recent failure of the Peregrine lander as a reminder of the challenges and risks involved in lunar missions. As NASA continues to push forward with its Artemis program, the hope is that more frequent and cost-effective missions to the moon will pave the way for future human exploration.

News Desk

This is our News Desk account being managed by our News Staff to publish the latest news and updates. You can reach out to us at

Exit mobile version