One Small Step For Texas

Odysseus | Image by Intuitive Machines

On Thursday, for the first time in over 50 years, an American spacecraft successfully touched down on the moon.

Known as Odysseus, the craft from Texas-based Intuitive Machines made it to the surface after some unexpected challenges during its approach. As reported earlier this week by The Dallas Express, the last time an American mission made it to the moon was in 1972.

Odysseus officially touched down in the south polar region at 5:23 p.m. CT. After a brief silence, flight controllers eventually obtained a faint signal from the spacecraft. Soon after, Tim Crain, the chief technology officer at Intuitive Machines, confirmed the milestone achievement.

“What we can confirm, without a doubt, is our equipment is on the surface of the moon and we are transmitting. So congratulations,” said Crain, according to The New York Times.

“I know this was a nail-biter, but we are on the surface, and we are transmitting. … Welcome to the moon,” said CEO Steve Altemus on a live webcast.

While confirmation of a signal from the craft was confirmed relatively quickly, it took two hours before mission control could confirm the spacecraft landed safely and could transmit data.

At 8:18 a.m. CT on Friday, Intuitive Machines said the craft was “alive and well.”

“Flight controllers are communicating and commanding the vehicle to download science data. The lander has good telemetry and solar charging… We continue to learn more about the vehicle’s specific information (Lat/Lon), overall health, and attitude (orientation),” reads the company’s post on the social media platform X.

Ahead of the lunar landing, Odysseus traveled a dizzying 620,370 miles in one week. As part of its mission, it is carrying several science instruments for NASA under a contract valued at up to $118 million in taxpayer money.

Odysseus is expected to remain on the moon for up to seven days. After that point, the landing site will become too cold to operate the spacecraft as the region descends into lunar night.

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