On Its Way to the Moon, Odysseus Lunar Lander Sends First Selfies From Space – Spacecraft Successfully Tested Engine in Deep Space

Space is ‘the final frontier’ – or so they say.

A flurry of spacecraft have been launched from blue Planet Earth, many of them aimed at making a soft landing on our Moon satellite.

Among them, missions from several countries, and – in the case of the United States – for the first time, a craft from a private company may be about to make a Lunar landing for the very first time.

Intuitive Machines’ robotic Odysseus spacecraft took a few ‘selfies’ with the Earth in the background after its February 15th launch.

Odysseus has now beamed these first photos home.

Another selfie from Odysseus, taken with a ‘fish-eye’ lens.

Space.com reported:

“‘Intuitive Machines successfully transmitted its first IM-1 mission images to Earth on February 16, 2024. The images were captured shortly after separation from @SpaceX’s second stage on Intuitive Machines’ first journey to the moon under @NASA’s CLPS initiative’, the Houston-based company wrote Saturday (Feb. 17) in a post on X that shared four of the photos.

CLPS is the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, which puts agency science instruments on private robotic moon landers like Odysseus. These instruments are designed to collect data that will aid NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to establish a crewed base near the lunar south pole by the end of the 2020s.

Odysseus is carrying six NASA experiments and technology demonstrations, along with six private payloads, on its current IM-1 mission.”

Read more:

SPACE ODYSSEY: Nova-C Lunar Mission Takes off in Florida, on Its Way to the First American Moon Landing in More Than Half a Century

The first CLPS effort was the Peregrine Lander, from Pittsburgh company Astrobotic.

Launched in January on a United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket, Peregrine suffered a fuel leak shortly after separating from the rocket’s upper stage.

It couldn’t reach the moon, so its handlers steered it to a controlled destruction in Earth’s atmosphere.

Read: Trouble in Space: First US Moon Lander in 50 Years Presents ‘Anomaly’, and Mission Is Endangered

“Things have been going better for Odysseus. The lander is healthy and communicating with mission control as it heads toward the moon for a planned Feb. 22 touchdown attempt, Intuitive Machines has said.”

The spacecraft’s systems are performing normally, including the engine that had a test in deep space.

“‘Intuitive Machines flight controllers successfully fired the first liquid methane and liquid oxygen engine in space, completing the IM-1 mission engine commissioning. This engine firing included a full thrust mainstage engine burn and throttle down-profile necessary to land on the moon’, the company said in an X post.”

Read: NASA’s Artemis Lunar Missions Delayed Yet Again – Astronauts Now Set To Land on the Moon in 2026 – Peregrine Lander Was Abandoned in Space Due to Fatal Fuel Leak

If Odysseus landing is successful, it will be historic.

No private spacecraft has ever ‘touched down softly’ on the moon.

It will also mark the first American craft on the moon in over half a century.

“Odysseus’ liquid methane-liquid oxygen combination, by the way, is also employed by SpaceX’s Raptor engines, which power the company’s giant new Starship rocket. Starship, which SpaceX is developing to get people to the moon and Mars, is being prepped for its third test flight, which could take place in the coming weeks.”

Read more:

SPACE ODYSSEY: Nova-C Lunar Mission Takes off in Florida, on Its Way to the First American Moon Landing in More Than Half a Century

This post was originally published on this site