April 16, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

American "Odysseus" flipped over to his side


The US spaceship Odyssey landed on the Moon and capsized on the surface.

The robotic lander descended into the moon’s south polar region on February 22 at 6:23 p.m. Eastern Time. But only after a few minutes, writes The Guardian, dispatchers were able to pick up a signal from its communications systems. Steve Altemus, CEO of Intuitive Machines, which built and operated the lander, explained:

“Having landed, the Odyssey caught its foot on the surface and overturned on its side. However, it is located near or at the intended landing site.”

IN NASA and Intuitive Machines said they are receiving all the data on the lander and expect it to be operational.

The area where Odysseus landed, near the south pole of the Moon, was not chosen by chance. It is “treacherous and cratered” but scientists suggest it is rich in frozen water needed for future missions to the Moon.

NASA paid Intuitive Machines $118 million for the voyage as part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, which awards contracts to private partners. The mission is part of the Artemis program to return astronauts to the Moon.

The more than four-meter, hexagonal, six-legged Odyssey lander used NASA’s experimental laser navigation system to guide its descent after Intuitive Machines’ laser instrument failed.

NASA notes that a device called EagleCam, developed by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, was supposed to pop out 30 seconds before landing to take pictures of the Odyssey, but the device was intentionally turned off because the navigation system needed to be switched. They will try to release EagleCam in the coming days so it can photograph the lander from a distance of about 8 meters.

It’s worth noting that after the spacecraft capsized, shares of Intuitive Machines fell 30%.



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