“Welcome to the Moon.”

Land Ho!

Intuitive Machines’ NASA-funded lunar lander, Odysseus, hit some issues during its final approach to the lunar surface: when the sensors it intended to use during its final approach failed, the team opted to use an experimental NASA payload instead.

But the gambit appears to have paid off: at about 6:38pm, the livestream reported that it was receiving a signal from the lander indicating that the lander had safely made it to the surface of the Moon.

“I know this was a nail-biter, but we are on the on the surface, and we are transmitting,” Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus said on the landing’s livestream. “Welcome to the Moon.”

Soft Landing

The final step before making its final descent to the lunar surface was the lander’s “powered descent,” in which the craft fired up its engine for 11 minutes to slow its approach.

After that, there was a nervewracking communications blackout as the team here on Earth waited for confirmation that the landing had been successful. “We’re not dead yet,” one flight controller quipped amid the tension.

The landing was significant, as the first commercial lunar lander in history — not to mention the United States’ first landing on the Moon since 1972. As such, it was a major coup for NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services, which aims to pay private companies to shuttle equipment to the lunar surface.

More on the Moon: Moon Lander Beams Back Dazzling Selfies With Earth


Share This Article