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Intuitive Machines Successfully Lands on Lunar Surface

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

Ibadan, 23 February 2024. – Intuitive Machines has successfully soft-landed its IM-1 mission Nova-C class lunar lander (Odysseus) on the lunar South Pole after launching it a week ago from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The uncrewed lunar lander landed at 6:23 pm ET (23:23 UTC), making Intuitive Machines the first commercial outfit to soft-land on the moon. It also marks the US’s first moon soft landing in 51 years.

Speaking on the feat, NASA Administrator, Bill Nelson, said, “The US has returned to the Moon. Today, for the first time in the history of humanity, a commercial company – an American company – launched and led the voyage up there. And today is the day that shows the power and promise of NASA’s commercial partnerships.”

The IM-1 mission is the Company’s first 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. The CLPS initiative aims to connect NASA with commercial solutions from American companies to deliver scientific, exploration, and technology payloads to the Moon’s surface and into lunar orbit

Among the items on its lander, the IM-1 mission successfully delivered 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 NASA payloads will focus on demonstrating communication, navigation and precision landing technologies, and gathering scientific data about rocket plume and lunar surface interactions, as well as space weather and lunar surface interactions affecting radio astronomy,” according to the Space Agency.

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