April 22, 2024

Private U.S. probe “Odysseus” lands on moon, sends – DW – February 23, 2024

“Nova-C” lander American American The company's rover touched down in a crater near the moon's south pole on Friday night. “We can confirm beyond doubt that our equipment is on the surface of the Moon and that we are transmitting,” it said in a live stream from the Intuitive Engine Control Center 20 minutes after landing. The Texas-based company developed the lunar lander, nicknamed “Odysseus” or Ody for short. “Houston, 'Odysseus' has found a new home,” cheered the experts.

“Today America returned to the Moon for the first time in half a century,” said the head of the US civilian space agency. NASA, Bill Nelson. Although Odysseus' landing has been unmanned by Americans since legendary times. Apollo missions 50 years ago. “On the eighth day of a quarter-million-mile journey, the Intuition machines landed with flying colors. (…) What a triumph for mankind. 'Odysseus' captured the moon,” NASA said.

Intuitive machines cheer after successfully landing in the control center Image: Intuitive Machines/AP/Image Alliance

It was initially unclear what condition “Nova-C” was in after landing. The control center reported that initially weak signals were received. They are working on getting stronger signals and learning more about the exact position of the lander. After some time – after some communication problems were resolved – it was said that it could be confirmed that the lander was upright and started transmitting data.

Paving the way for manned lunar missions

“Odysseus” will, among other things, carry out temperature and radiation measurements and soil surveys. Its purpose is to explore the requirements for future manned lunar missions.

The lander is about the size of an old-fashioned British phone booth, has aluminum legs, weighs about 700 kilograms and can carry about 130 kilograms of cargo. NASA has earmarked most of it with research equipment and other materials, while commercial companies have secured the rest for their own projects. American artist Jeff Koons also sent 125 small sculptures made of stainless steel.

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On February 15, the lunar lander Odysseus lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Space Station Image: Greg Newton/AFP/Getty Images

“Nova-C” was a week ago Cape Canaveral Space Station in Florida, USA started The lunar lander was carried into space by the technology billionaire's space company SpaceX's “Falcon 9” rocket. Elon Musk. The mission is part of a NASA program through which the US space agency wants to gather as much knowledge as possible relatively cheaply and efficiently. A total of around 2.6 billion dollars (around 2.4 billion euros) has been earmarked for the project through 2028.

Intuitive Machines received about $77 million for the “Nova-C” mission. The company, based in Houston, Texas, was founded in 2013 by American-Iranian entrepreneur Qam Khafarian. It's also behind Axiom Space, which has launched a commercial mission to support astronauts back. International Space Station (ISS) had sent.

The first commercial moon landing was a success

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Landing on the moon is considered technically very demanding. This year alone, two planned landings went differently than planned: Pittsburgh-based American company Astrobotic sent the “Peregrine” capsule in January – part of a related NASA project. But problems arose shortly after takeoff due to a fault in the propulsion system. Engineers were able to temporarily stabilize the capsule, but had to abandon the goal of landing on the moon. A few days later, “Peregrine” burned up in Earth's atmosphere.

Shortly after, Japanese space agency JAXA's lander “SLIM” (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) slowly touched down on the moon, but initially had problems with power supply. It was possible only after several days of power cut After all “SLIM” is still a work in progress go

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That's it Japan – to America, Russia, China And India – 5th country to successfully complete unmanned landing on the moon.

se/haz (dpa, afp, ap)

A new species for the Moon

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