Science

Moon mission: Intuitive Machines is about to launch its Odysseus spacecraft


The Odysseus spacecraft is scheduled to launch to the moon on 14 February

SpaceX

The US firm Intuitive Machines will quickly try and change into the primary non-public agency to land a spacecraft on the moon. Three earlier efforts by different corporations have failed, highlighting the treacherous path forward of Intuitive Machines’s Nova-C lander.

The spacecraft, nicknamed Odysseus, is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida on 14 February. It’s going to journey atop a Falcon 9 rocket manufactured by SpaceX. If the mission, referred to as IM-1, goes properly, Odysseus ought to land close to the south pole of the moon on 22 February.

The purpose of the IM-1 mission, other than proving {that a} non-public firm can land on the moon, is to hold six NASA payloads and 5 industrial payloads to the lunar floor. The NASA devices embody instruments to check how the touchdown itself blows up plumes of moon dust, a number of gadgets to assist the craft land safely and a tool to measure radio waves and the way they have an effect on the lunar floor. The industrial payloads embody a digicam that will likely be tossed off the lander earlier than it touches all the way down to take images of the touchdown, 125 tiny sculptures by artist Jeff Koons and a chip designed to ascertain an archive of human information on the moon.

IM-1 is a part of NASA’s Industrial Lunar Payload Providers (CLPS) initiative, which awards authorities contracts to non-public corporations with the purpose of accelerating exploration and growing a lunar economic system. That is the second CLPS mission – the primary, Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander, suffered a gas leak shortly after its January launch that prevented it from reaching the moon.

There have been two different makes an attempt by non-public corporations to land on the moon – SpaceIL’s Beresheet craft and ispace’s Hakuto-R – however each crash-landed and have been destroyed. If Odysseus succeeds the place the others failed, Intuitive Machines’s subsequent step is to ship one other Nova-C lander, geared up with a drill to reap underground ice, to the moon’s south pole. That mission is deliberate for March 2024.

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