May 19, 2024

An American company wants to create the first commercial landing on the moon

Intuitive Machines and SpaceX

An American company wants to create the first commercial landing on the moon

Yesterday, February 17, 2024 | 10:15 pm

After several failed attempts by different companies, another company has set its sights on the first commercial landing on the moon. The Nova-C lander of the American company Intuitive Machines took off from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport in the US state of Florida, on Thursday, as live images from the US space agency NASA showed. The means of transportation was a Falcon 9 rocket from the space company SpaceX, owned by technology billionaire Elon Musk.

“NASA's scientific instruments are on their way to the moon, which is a big step for humanity as we plan our return to the moon for the first time in more than half a century,” NASA CEO Bill Nelson said. These are “bold lunar deliveries” from which NASA can “learn a lot.”

Technical challenges and hopes

The start was postponed from Wednesday to Thursday for technical reasons. NASA said in a statement that methane fuel temperatures deviated from normal. “Like an arrow from Cupid’s bow, the next commercial cargo mission is making its way to the Moon,” NASA wrote on Pad X (formerly Twitter) shortly after the launch. At first there were no signs of any problems. Nova-C successfully separated from the launch vehicle about 50 minutes after launch and made its way to the Moon.

Intuitive Machines hopes to land on February 22. This will be the first American landing on the moon – albeit unmanned – since the Apollo missions more than 50 years ago and the first commercial landing on an Earth satellite in space history. The experiment is part of NASA's CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program. Through this program, the US space agency wants to gather as much knowledge as possible on its way back to the moon relatively cheaply and efficiently by awarding and working with lunar landing contracts to private companies. A total of about $2.6 billion (about €2.4 billion) has been allocated to the CLPS program by 2028.

See also  The United Kingdom joins IDB Invest as its newest member country