How to Watch First U.S. Moon Landing in 50 Years

Odysseus | Image by Intuitive Machines

Today, you can witness a rare event: an American-made aircraft landing on the moon.

A U.S. spacecraft is expected to make a lunar landing for the first time in over a half-century. The private shuttle, 4,200-pound Odysseus, is the product of Houston-based Intuitive Machines. As previously reported in The Dallas Express, the spacecraft is expected to beat another privately launched shuttle from Astrobotic Technology despite the latter’s earlier start.

Odysseus will aim to land in a flat plain on the south polar region, roughly 185 miles from the moon’s south pole. Certain craters in the area are perpetually covered in shadow and have been shown to hold water in the form of ice. As a result, this region is of particular interest to researchers.

Intuitive Machines said that Odysseus was able to reduce its speed enough to be caught in the moon’s gravitational orbit 57 miles above the surface. The spacecraft will ultimately lower to roughly six miles above the moon’s surface, after which point the Odysseus must operate independently for approximately an hour without using its engine.

Then, the engine will restart to complete the final, powered descent.

The eventual landing, which, if successful, would be the first American mission to reach the moon since Apollo 17 in 1972, is expected to occur at 3:24 p.m. CT. While the mission is private, NASA is leveraging the trip to deliver six instruments to the moon. NASA TV will stream the landing starting at 3 p.m. CT today. You can find a link to the stream here.

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