April 21, 2024

American companies and NASA want to achieve the first American landing on the moon since 1972

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No American space probe has landed on the moon since 1972. That should change on Thursday. Will the first commercial landing on the moon succeed?

HOUSTON — The moon has been receiving repeat visitors for several months — tomorrow, Thursday (Feb. 22), that time should come again. Then there will be the first American landing on the moon since 1972. During the last American landing on the moon, NASA was in control and people sat in the space probes who set foot on the moon to explore it. This time everything had to be different.

This starts with the fact that no one will exit the Odysseus lander because the mission is unmanned. NASA won't be responsible either. The mission is being carried out by the private space company Intuitive Machines. If the moon landing is successful, the company from Houston, Texas will have achieved something historic: it will be the first American landing on the moon since the end of the Apollo program, so to speak, the United States' “return” to Earth. moon. Meanwhile, this will be the first successful commercial landing on the moon.

The Odysseus lander, owned by the private American company Intuitive Machines, is scheduled to land on the surface of the moon. This will be the first American landing on the moon since 1972 and the first commercial landing on the moon ever. (Archive photo) © dpa/Intuitive Machines | Nick Rios

A private company aims to achieve the first moon landing in the United States since 1972

Even more than 50 years after the Apollo missions, landing on the moon is not easy. Before Intuitive Machines' attempt, there had already been three attempts by private companies to land on the moon. The private Israeli space probe “Beresheet” landed on the moon in 2019 to no avail. Last year, the private Japanese company Ispace failed to land on the moon. Recently, last month, the American company Astrobotic's attempt to land on the moon failed. The Peregrine lander eventually crashed into Earth and burned up in the atmosphere.

When will the moon landing take place?

The planned landing of Intuitive Machines' Odysseus lander is scheduled to take place on February 22, 2024, at 11:49 p.m. The company wants to offer live streaming.

NASA co-funded the development of a private lunar lander

The failed Peregrine probe and the Odysseus lander, which will next try its luck on the Moon, have one thing in common: they are private missions, partly funded by NASA. Through its CLPS program, the US space agency supports companies that transport cargo to the Moon, so that NASA and private companies can purchase the service.

NASA paid Intuitive Machines $118 million to develop the lander, and the lander has six different instruments from the agency on board. NASA wants to use it to prepare for the next human landing on the Moon, which was recently postponed to 2026. There are also six commercial shipments – including an art project.

The Odysseus space probe will launch to the moon and is scheduled to land on February 22

Since its launch on February 15, the Odysseus space probe has traveled nearly 384,400 kilometers to the Moon – leaving only the most challenging part to go: landing on the lunar surface. Not only have commercial landings failed in recent years, but countries have not always been able to land quietly on Earth's satellite. But recently, two new countries have managed to join the short and prestigious list of successful moon landings: India achieved it last summer and Japan at the beginning of the year.

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Run to the moon

Several missions to the Moon are planned – an ESA expert explains in an interview what to do with plans for landing on the Moon and what the next crew landing on the Moon looks like.

If Intuitive Machines successfully landed on the moon, the number of people who were able to make a soft landing on the moon would rise to six: five countries (the Soviet Union and the United States of America at the time) ChinaIndia and Japan) in addition to the company (Intuitive Machines) then belongs to the exclusive circle. If NASA can achieve its goal, this should soon expand to other US companies. Astrobotic, among other things, is in the start phase with another mission planned. (unpaid bill)