Odysseus Spacecraft Makes History

Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger holds a Political Science and History BS and is working towards a Masters in Public Administration. Before his time at Atlas he joined GoodPolitical to serve as a writer and contributor while also expanding his knowledge on global events. Matthew is proud to be a part of a news organization that believes in delivering truthful, unfiltered, and unbiased news to people around the world.

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What Happened:

A Texas firm named Intuitive Machine’s (IM) launched the Odysseus lander and successfully landed on the moon. In cooperation with SpaceX and NASA, IM launched its instrument through a Falcon-9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center.

The successful landing came with some troubles from the laser guidance system that is used to guide it to a safe point for shutdown. There was also a two hour period between touchdown and the beginning of transmission signals being sent from the spacecraft. There are still some concerns about the weakness of the signal and the positioning of the craft. There are some reports that the craft may be slightly tipped over and leaning against a rock.

Regardless, this landing was a large step forward for the United States space program, as it was the first lunar landing in 50 years and also the first private company to make it to the moon. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said: “Today is a day that shows the power and promise of NASA’s commercial partnerships. Congratulations to everyone involved in this great and daring quest.”

The Details:

There was much cooperation across sectors in order to make this mission successful. Insulation material developed by the clothing brand Columbia and a camera developed by students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University were on the shuttle. Although no images have been released by IM as of Friday, it is assumed that the craft is still in one piece.

Besides the victory this landing presents to the private sector, it is also a message to U.S. rivals that we still have goals that are “out of this world.”. Competition from China and the news of a developing Russian nuclear satellite puts space near the top of the list for U.S. national security. The hope is that the private sector will assist NASA in the resurgence of missions to space.

NASA paid $118 million for the program in an effort to encourage investment in the “lunar economy.”. The mission itself involved cooperation at every level between NASA and the private sector, which was tested when NASA’s experimental laser system was activated after the Landers navigation system failed.

The IM team has anticipated a week of operations before the craft will be frozen, rendering it inoperable. During its operation, it will conduct a number of readings and scans that will be reported back to Earth. Another team attempted to conduct this mission last month, but the lander had a fuel leak, which sent it crashing back to Earth.

What’s Next:

This mission is the first successful moon landing since Apollo 17, which was closed down in December 1972. NASA has revived the program to send astronauts to the moon under the name “Artemis,” which was the mythological twin sister of Apollo. The program is aiming to have a moon landing in 2026.

This could be the revival of the space race with a new list of competitors. China, India, and Japan have all successfully achieved moon landings and have space programs dedicated to continued missions.

The U.S. has a continued interest in holding operations in space and securing its future as a leading power. The Space Force has a comprehensive strategy document that outlines the U.S. government’s goals for space in the future and some of the challenges that will come with it.

The market has also reacted positively to the landing, as Intuitive Machine stocks jumped 16% right after the landing was announced.