USA's Odysseus spacecraft: Makes historical commercial moon landing

America's Odysseus spacecraft makes a commercial landing on the moon for the first time, creating history. Although a private company has created the aircraft, the launching and landing is being conducted by NASA.

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Courtesy: X/ANI

The successful landing of the American spacecraft Odysseus on the moon took place on Thursday, February 23. The launch took place in Washington, DC, USA. This is the first American spacecraft to land on the moon in over 50 years. 

With this, the company that developed the Nova-C lander, Intuitive Machines (IM), has made history by being the first private enterprise to successfully land on the moon. Additionally, this marks America's first landing on the moon since 1972 known as the Apollo era. 

Chandrayaan-3 landing

Notably, this landing comes months after India's Chandrayaan-3 lander, which became the first spacecraft from the country to safely reach the lunar surface in August 2023. For the first time in the twenty-first century, India successfully landed a robotic vehicle on the lunar South Pole.

India made a soft landing on the lunar South Pole with a robotic vehicle for the first time in the 21st century. This landing was followed by the August 2023 launch of India's Chandrayaan-3 lander, which made history as the nation's first mission to reach the moon safely. 

Landing story of Odysseus

Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus stated on the webcast "I know this was a nail-biter, but we are on the surface, and we are transmitting." He enthusiastically expressed "Welcome to the moon." The company has announced that the spacecraft has made contact with the moon, even though it is still unclear what condition the lander is in. The Odysseus landing location is close to Malapert A, an impact crater close to the moon's south

pole. NASA has shared that the site is "(A) relatively flat and safe region is within the heavily cratered southern highlands on the side of the Moon visible from Earth." 

The spaceship began troubleshooting communication just before landing after the anticipated landing time had been exceeded. Nevertheless, a flight controller for Intuitive Machines attested to the fact that the lander is "not dead yet" and that they have received a "faint signal". The US is still the only nation to have sent people to the moon, most recently with the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

Watch the Odysseus landing:

Purpose of mission

The space agency stated that it wanted to learn more about the lunar environment and how communications work in this region, which is why it selected this landing site for Intuitive Machines' first mission. 

NASA thinks the lunar south pole is the ideal place to establish a future astronaut station, which is why the space agency wants to investigate the area.