First images from Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus

First images from Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus

Steve Altemus, CEO of Intuitive Machines, explains how the company’s IM-1 lander overturned on the lunar surface during a NASA press conference on February 22, 2024.

NASA television

Intuitive machines The Odysseus cargo lander sent back its first images of the lunar surface over the weekend as the spacecraft settles into its lunar destination.

The company’s historic IM-1 mission is now operational on the moon after landing on Thursday, making it the first privately developed spacecraft to land softly on the lunar surface.

Intuitive Machines initially reported that Odysseus was standing upright. But in an update late Friday, company executives said they believe the spacecraft caught its landing gear sideways in the lunar surface during touchdown and tipped over.

Even though he is resting on his side, Odysseus is still sending data back. Intuitive Machines expects Odysseus to be operational until Tuesday morning, when its solar panels are no longer exposed to the sun.

Intuitive Machines stock fell 35% in Monday trading, closing at $6.27 per share.

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The Odysseus lander carried 12 government and commercial payloads – six of which were destined for NASA under a $118 million contract through the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative.

NASA leadership emphasized that the IM-1 mission was still successful despite the spacecraft tipping over, calling the landing “a gigantic achievement.”

The Nova-C lunar lander designed by aerospace company Intuitive Machines is on display at the company’s headquarters in Houston, Texas, on October 3, 2023.

Employees | Reuters

One of the payloads, “EagleCam,” is a small camera developed by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The EagleCam was originally intended to be ejected during the final moments of Odysseus’s landing to capture the first images of a moon landing from outside a spacecraft, but a problem with the lander’s navigation system meant the camera could not be deployed. The Embry-Riddle team said Intuitive Machines still plans to detach EagleCam from the lander at a later date.

Here are some of the first images from the landing:

Arrival for landing

The company’s Odysseus cargo lander flies toward the lunar surface in preparation for its landing on February 22, 2024.

Intuitive machines

On the surface

A wide field of view image taken shortly after Odysseus toppled over.

Intuitive machines

Seen from above

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera identified Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus lander on the surface.

NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

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2024-02-26 21:15:24