May 24, 2024

An American company wants to create the first private landing on the moon – DW – February 15, 2024

The private space mission IM-1 in the United States started a day late. The Nova-C unmanned lunar lander takes off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After about 50 minutes, it successfully separated from its transport, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It helped it overcome Earth's gravity. The trip is supposed to last for a week.

Destination: The Moon – orbits the Earth at an average distance of about 384,400 kmPhoto: Patrick Pleul/DPA/Alliance Image

The rocket was scheduled to be launched on Wednesday, but was postponed. The reason given is that methane temperatures have deviated from the norm. The lunar lander is powered by a mixture of cooled methane and oxygen. There are measuring instruments on board the spacecraft, which is four meters long US space agency NASA, But also 125 miniature sculptures by artist Jeff Koons.

Access to Malapert A crater

Odysseus – the name of the vehicle based on Greek mythology – is expected to land in the southern region of the moon in a crater called Malaparte A. Which is technically very demanding. According to the manufacturer, the device will be effective for approximately seven days. Intuitive Machines is planning the first U.S. moon landing since the end of the Apollo program more than 50 years ago.

With the SLIM lander, Japan became the fifth country to successfully land on the moon without a pilot – after the USA, Russia, China and India.Photo: Uncredited/JAXA/Takara Tomy/Sony Group Corporation/Doshisha University/AP/dpa/picture Alliance

At the time, NASA was in control. No private company has yet been able to land on an Earth satellite. Astrorobotic's last attempt failed in January: the Peregrine capsule used had to be abandoned due to a faulty propulsion system; It burned up in Earth's atmosphere a few days later.

Safe without electricity

Shortly thereafter, the Japanese space agency JAXA succeeded To gently place their SLIM lander on the Moon. However, the device was just getting started Problems with the power supply. So Japan – after the USA, Russia and China India – The fifth country to succeed in landing on the moon without a pilot.

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The last time humans were on the moon was more than 50 years ago – here is an astronaut from the penultimate Apollo 16 mission in April 1972Image: NASA

The latest mission is part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, under which NASA contracts with commercial companies to land on the moon. A financial pot of about $2.6 billion (€2.4 billion) is available until 2028. Intuitive Machines will receive approximately $77 million of this amount. The goal is to gather knowledge for the government's space program relatively cheaply and efficiently. In the future, NASA wants to use the moon as a stopover for a trip to Mars.