Logged-out Icon

Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus lunar lander permanently goes to sleep

The aerospace company says that Odysseus was not intended to survive the harsh lunar night and the mission was originally planned to conclude seven days after landing.

Intuitive Machines Odysseus

American aerospace company Intuitive Machines over the weekend announced it has officially completed the first privately-led mission (IM-1) to moon with its Nova-C lander, named Odysseus, “permanently” gone asleep. This comes almost a month after the Houston-based space exploration company successfully landed Odysseus on the lunar surface, making it the first American touchdown on the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

“As previously announced on February 29th, our IM-1 mission ended seven days after landing, as Odysseus’ mission was not intended to survive the harsh temperatures of the lunar night,” Intuitive Machines said in a post on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. “Before its batteries were depleted, flight controllers tucked Odie into a configuration that could call home if various systems outperformed manufacturer expectations,” it added.

The company began listening for Odie’s wake-up signal on March 20, as they anticipated sufficient sunlight to potentially recharge the lander’s battery and activate its radio. But by March 23, the space company’s flight controllers decided that their projections were correct and confirmed Odysseus has permanently gone silent. “Odie has permanently faded after cementing its legacy into history as the first commercial lunar lander to land on the Moon,” Intuitive Machines added.

Launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Odysseus successfully landed near the moon’s south pole on February 23. This lunar area is rich in scientific interest due to the presence of water ice in permanently shadowed craters. The lander carried numerous science and research payloads under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. These instruments were designed to collect vital data on the lunar surface, aiding in the preparation for the Artemis program’s anticipated human missions to the moon slated for September 2025.

Odysseus is the first successful privately owned spacecraft to land on the moon. In its second mission, IM-2, the company says to target “the Moon’s south pole at the Shackleton Connecting Ridge to search for water ice that future missions could potentially process for propulsion and life support.”

Posts you may like

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website