An American spacecraft returns to the Moon after more than half a century

The module landed near the Malapert A crater, about 300 kilometers from the moon’s south pole, where it will remain for about seven days until night falls over the region and it is deactivated.

An American plane landed this Thursday On the surface of the Moon for the first time in more than 50 years, Especially since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, and it also became the first built by a private firm to reach a natural satellite.

After traveling more than one million kilometres, He odysseus module, The spacecraft, from the company Intuitive Machines, successfully landed on the edge of Malapert A crater, about 300 kilometers from the South Pole, around 5:23 p.m. Central American time (23:24 GMT) this evening. Moon, and after some variations in the time of arrival.

“Houston, Odysseus has found his new home,” After a few minutes, communications were lost and controllers could not get a signal from the ship, mission director Timothy Crain confirmed.

The NASA administrator said, “Today, for the first time in more than half a century, the United States has returned to the Moon.” bill nelson Soon after Odysseus’s parentage was confirmed.

landing procedure It was not without setbacks. As reported during the broadcast, the Intuitive Machine tool that was supposed to be used for guidance during descent did not work and the company was forced to use NASA equipment.

US space agency has paid 118 million dollars To transport scientific and technical instruments contained in six payloads, which are part of a total of twelve loads of the company’s Nova-C series modules.

The 4.3 meter high and 675 kg spacecraft took off for about seven days with the help of a Falcon 9 rocket from the company Space.

Odysseus successfully on Wednesday entry into lunar orbit and remained at about 90 kilometers altitude, where it remained until today’s descent, but not before sharing an image of Bel’kovich crater, “in the moon’s northern equatorial highlands,” as Intuitive Machines noted.

For the landing process, which took about an hour, Odysseus needed to fire his main engine for about ten minutes, which uses liquid oxygen and methane propellants, And rotate from sitting on six legs to standing straight.

In Malapart A, where the temperature over 100 degrees Celsius (212 Fahrenheit), Odysseus will stay about seven days Until night falls in this area and it becomes inactive.

The mission, called IM-1, is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. artemis program With which the American space agency is planning to send a crew to the Moon again.

The Peregrine cargo module was part of this program, which launched successfully last January, but The ship leaked fuel and had to make a return trip Into the Earth’s atmosphere for controlled destruction.

In the case of Odysseus, in addition to NASA’s instruments, the module also carries Orders from private customers, Among them are sports clothing and accessories company Columbia, which will test insulation materials, and plastic artist Jeff Koons, who has placed 125 small sculptures of lunar phases on the ship.

Among the various NASA instruments brought by Odysseus, some are also for the better fuel measurement, As well as cameras to capture sound and still images of the dust column generated when the module begins its descent to the lunar surface.

The area where the module landed today is one of thirteen candidate areas For the landing of NASA’s Artemis III manned mission, scheduled for September 2026.

The space agency believes that in this unknown area There may be reserves of frozen water.

The Intuitive Machines mission seeks to solidify a route to bring NASA scientific instruments as well as commercial cargo to the Moon and thereby pave the way for a permanent human presence on that natural satellite.


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