Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus: First Private Lunar Landing Captures Moon’s Surface in Historic Mission

Intuitive Machines’ cargo lander, Odysseus, returned its first images from the moon’s surface over the weekend, as the spacecraft settled into its lunar destination. The company’s historic IM-1 mission is now operating on the moon after landing on Thursday, becoming the first privately developed spacecraft to soft land on the lunar surface.

Intuitive Machines initially reported Odysseus was standing upright. But in an update late Friday, company executives said they believe the spacecraft caught its landing gear sideways on the moon’s surface while touching down and tipped over.

Intuitive Machines' stock fluctuates
Intuitive Machines’ stock fluctuates as the historic mission unfolds, NASA hails achievement. (Credits: Intuitive Machines/X- formerly Twitter)

Despite resting on its side, Odysseus is still sending back data. Intuitive Machines expects Odysseus to operate until Tuesday morning when its solar panels will no longer be exposed to the sun. Intuitive Machines’ stock fell as much as 30% in Monday trading from its previous close at $9.59 a share.

The Odysseus lander carried 12 government and commercial payloads — six of which are for NASA under a $118 million contract through the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services, or CLPS, initiative. NASA leadership emphasized the IM-1 mission was still successful despite the spacecraft tipping over, calling the landing “a gigantic accomplishment.”

Despite tipping over, Odysseus still transmits data, showcasing successful lunar operations. (Credits: Intuitive Machines/X- formerly Twitter)

The Nova-C lunar lander designed by aerospace company Intuitive Machines is displayed at the company’s headquarters in Houston, Texas, U.S.

One of the payloads, “EagleCam,” is a small camera developed by Embry‑Riddle Aeronautical University. Originally, EagleCam was to be ejected in the final moments of Odysseus’ landing, to capture the first images of a moon landing from outside a spacecraft, but an issue with the lander’s navigation system meant the camera did not deploy. Embry-Riddle’s team said Intuitive Machines still plans to release EagleCam from the lander at a later time.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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