US Spaceship Lying Sideways on Moon After Tumbling Over During Touchdown

Odysseus, the first American spaceship to the Moon after five decades is probably lying sideways following its touchdown, said Intuitive Machines, the company that built the spacecraft.

The Odysseus spacecraft landed near the lunar south pole on Thursday at 6:23 pm Eastern Time (2323 GMT). The ground team took several minutes to establish radio contact with the lander after it landed.

Intuitive Machines, the company behind Odysseus, opting for this first-ever lunar landing by a private company, initially posted on social media that its hexagonal spaceship was upright. But later its CEO Steve Altemus in a statement on Friday, informed that the Odysseus tipped over during landing, coming to rest horizontally with its top perched on a small rock.

A NASA probe called the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will photograph Odysseus over the weekend, helping pinpoint its exact location.

Altemus said that while solar arrays were on the top-facing side, the team’s ability to download data from the science experiments on board was being hampered because of antennas facing downward that “are unusable for transmission back to Earth — and so that really is a limiter in our ability to communicate and get the right data down so we get everything we need for the mission.”




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