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23 Feb, 2024 00:55

US performs first Moon landing since 1972

The Odysseus spacecraft has successfully reached the lunar surface
US performs first Moon landing since 1972

The Odysseus lander designed by private aerospace company Intuitive Machines has become the first US-made spacecraft to touch down on the Moon since 1972. It was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on February 15.

“Without a doubt, our equipment is on the surface of the Moon, and we are transmitting,” Intuitive Machines co-founder Tim Crain said during the livestream. 

“Today for the first time in more than a half-century, the US has returned to the Moon,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said shortly after the 4.3-meter-high lander successfully reached the lunar surface. “Today is a day that shows the power and promise of NASA’s commercial partnerships.”

While orbiting the Moon, Odysseus snapped a picture of the Bel’kovich crater.

The lander contains six NASA research devices, including equipment for analyzing lunar soil and the electron plasma.

The Odysseus also carries a work by American artist Jeff Koons – a transparent box with 125 stainless-steel round sculptures representing the phases of the Moon.

The US stopped sending landers on the Moon after the Apollo 17 mission concluded in December 1972.

Last month, NASA announced that its Artemis II mission – a crewed lunar flyby – has been delayed until September 2025. The return of astronauts on the Moon is now expected in September 2026.