Spacecraft makes first US moon landing in over 50 years

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IM-1 spacecraft.

On Thursday, the Odysseus lander achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first US spacecraft to touch down on the moon in over fifty years.

Houston-based company Intuitive Machines, responsible for constructing the craft, marked a significant commercial achievement as the first private enterprise to successfully land a spacecraft on the lunar surface.

Tim Crane, co-founder, and chief technology officer of Intuitive Machines confirmed the successful lunar landing during NASA’s live broadcast, stating, “Odysseus has a new home.”

Launching from Kennedy Space Center in Florida last week and entering the moon’s orbit on Wednesday, this lunar touchdown marked the first American moon landing since the conclusion of NASA’s Apollo program in 1972.

The Odysseus lander, equipped with various NASA instruments, including a radio beacon for precise geolocation and high-resolution cameras to monitor lunar surface changes, underscores the significance of private enterprises in space exploration.

Intuitive Machines, among the companies approved by NASA to develop private lunar landers for scientific payloads, reportedly received $118 million for the successful moon mission.

These robotic missions play a crucial role in lunar exploration, aligning with NASA and the Canadian Space Agency’s plans to send astronauts around the moon in the upcoming Artemis II mission next year.

Success in this mission is pivotal for NASA’s Artemis III mission, scheduled for a moon landing in 2026 with a crew of four astronauts, including three Americans and one Canadian.

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