US pulls off first moon landing since 1972 with spacecraft Odysseus

Using a spacecraft developed and run by a Texas-based private firm, the US made its first lunar landing in over 50 years.

Odysseus, an unmanned robot lander funded by NASA and constructed by Houston-based Intuitive Machines, made landfall close to the lunar south pole on Thursday at approximately 23:23 GMT, the firm reported in a webcast.

After a dramatic final descent during which flight controllers had to switch to an unproven landing technique due to an issue with the spacecraft’s autonomous navigation system, the landing was successful.

The landing was hailed as a “triumph for humanity” and a “new adventure in science, innovation, and American leadership in space” by NASA administrator Bill Nelson.

In a social media video, Nelson declared, “Today, the US has returned to the Moon for the first time in half a century.”

“A commercial company, an American company, launched and led the voyage up there today for the first time in human history.” Furthermore, today demonstrates the strength and potential of NASA’s business relationships with Schmidt to the lunar surface.

Other than the United States, only four nations have made successful moon landings.

Japan, after the former Soviet Union, China, and India, became the fifth nation to accomplish the feat last month when it successfully landed its so-called “Moon Sniper” spacecraft on the lunar surface.

On February 15, Odysseus took off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Florida.

The hexagon-shaped spaceship carried goods transported on behalf of private clients, including Columbia Sportswear’s newest insulating jacket fabric, as well as NASA’s research instruments, including cameras and a gadget to analyze clouds of charged dust particles.

It is anticipated that the solar-powered Odysseus would function on the moon’s surface for a week before the lander becomes unusable due to the lunar night.