ISU MSS 2024

Intuitive Machines Launch Odysseus on Lunar Mission

Intuitive Machines
Intuitive Machines lander aboard Falcon 9. Credit Space X

Ibadan, 15 February 2024. – Intuitive Machines has launched its IM-1 lunar mission from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The IM-1 mission Nova-C class lunar lander (Odysseus) has subsequently deployed from the rocket and has begun its journey to the lunar surface. If successful, the IM-1 lunar mission will be the first commercial soft landing attempt on the moon. It would also mark the first American mission in 51 years to complete a soft touchdown on the Moon.

Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lander is expected to land on the Moon, near the South Pole, on Thursday, February 22nd. Among the items on its lander, the IM-1 mission will carry NASA payloads focusing on plume-surface interactions, space weather/lunar surface interactions, radio astronomy, precision landing technologies, and a communication and navigation node for future autonomous navigation technologies.

The Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission is the Company’s first attempted lunar landing as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, a key part of NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration efforts. Furthermore, the science and technology payloads sent to the Moon’s surface as part of CLPS intend to lay the foundation for human missions and a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.

A month ago, another recipient of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, Astrobotic, embarked on a similar lunar soft landing mission with its Peregrine lunar lander. However, the mission suffered a fatal setback as Astrobotic announced a propellant leak aboard the spacecraft, effectively ending all chances of completing the mission.

The Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative is an innovative approach connecting NASA with commercial solutions from American companies to deliver scientific, exploration, and technology payloads to the Moon’s surface and into lunar orbit.

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