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Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus Spacecraft Lands on the Moon

Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus Spacecraft Lands on the Moon

The Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus will operate on the Moon as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative. The spacecraft was launched by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, payloads include:

  • Lunar Node 1 Navigation Demonstrator: CubeSat-sized experiment that will demonstrate autonomous navigation that could be used by future landers, surface infrastructure, and astronauts, digitally confirming their positions on the Moon relative to other spacecraft, ground stations, or rovers on the move.
  • Laser Retroreflector Array: A collection of eight retroreflectors that enable precision laser ranging, which measures the distance between the orbiting or landing spacecraft and the reflector on the lander. The array is a passive optical instrument and will function as a permanent location marker on the Moon for decades to come.  
  • Radio Frequency Mass Gauge: A technology demonstration that measures the amount of propellant in spacecraft tanks in a low-gravity space environment. Using sensor technology, the gauge will measure the amount of cryogenic propellant in Nova-C’s fuel and oxidizer tanks, providing data that could help predict fuel usage on future missions.  
  • Radio-wave Observations at the Lunar Surface of the Photoelectron Sheath: The instrument will observe the Moon’s surface environment in radio frequencies to determine how natural and human-generated activity near the surface interacts with and could interfere with science conducted there.
  • Stereo Cameras for Lunar Plume-Surface Studies: A suite of four tiny cameras to capture imagery showing how the Moon’s surface changes from interactions with the spacecraft’s engine plume during and after descent.

IM-1 Team on the ground expects to receive the images from Moon in the coming days. A NASA precision landing technology demonstrator was used to soften the landing process.

As part of NASA’s Artemis campaign, the lunar delivery is in the region where NASA will send astronauts to search for water and other lunar resources later this decade.