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Houston’s Commercial Aerospace Company Sends NOVA-C Lunar Lander to the Moon

Intuitive Machines successfully launches Odysseus

A first look at Intuitive Machines Odysseus taking a selfie in lunar orbit a day after launch. (Photo Courtesy, Intuitive Machines).

Houston’s commercial aerospace company Intuitive Machines launched Odysseus “Odie” a Class C robotic lunar lander on February 15 for its first private mission under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative.

NASA’s CLPS program is responsible for loading scientific instruments onto privately owned robotic moon landers like Odysseus. The primary goal of these landers is to collect crucial data that will aid in NASA’s Artemis program. The agency’s mission is to establish a habitable base near the lunar south pole that can be worked and lived in by a crew by the end of this decade.

Space Center Houston, the official visitors center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, recently exhibited a replica of Intuitive Machines NOVA-C class lunar lander in its Main Plaza. The purpose of this exhibit was to inform visitors about the company’s upcoming private mission (IM-1) to the lunar surface. This mission will be the first of its kind in over 50 years to originate from the United States.

“Odie,” nicknamed by Intuitive Machines is scheduled to land near the south pole of the Moon on February 22. If the mission is successful, Intuitive Machines will become the first-ever U.S. commercial company to achieve a soft Moon landing.

Odysseus lifted atop a Space X Falcon 9 rocket from the Florida Kennedy Space Center 39A launchpad at 1:05 a.m. EST. According to Space X, this was the 18th launch and landing for this particular booster which is one short of the company’s reuse record. The same Space X Falcon 9 rocket can be seen at Space Center Houston which was used to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) twice in 2017.

Intuitive Machines NOVA-C Lunar Lander sits at its Houston facility on media day in October 2023. (Photo Courtesy, Intuitive Machines).

Intuitive Machines has partnered with Columbia, an American sportswear brand to safeguard its NOVA-C lunar lander from extreme heat conditions and assess the limits of the brand’s innovations. The lander is being protected by an Omni-Heat jacket to shield it from the harsh conditions of space.

Odysseus is en route toward the lunar orbit (a six-day journey) to its landing site on Malapert A – a small crater about 190 miles from the Moon’s south pole. The commercial company confirms Odysseus is healthy and is communicating with the company’s Lunar Data Network (LDN) control center in Houston, TX.  

Please visit our News Center for more updates on Odysseus’ mission.

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