US Steps on Lunar Surface After 50 Yrs, Odysseus Makes 1st Private Moon Landing in History

After a long gap of over 50 years, a spacecraft from the US has landed on the moon. The last time any US spacecraft landed on the moon was in 1972 when Apollo missions were grounded.

Now NASA in collaboration with private company Intuitive Machines has landed the first American spacecraft Odysseus on the south polar region of the moon.

But the signal transmitted by Odysseus from the south polar region of the moon is weak. The Odysseus team felt a shock when the lander did not respond in the moments after landing. But later a faint signal confirmed its landing.

Odysseus landed in Malapert A, a crater just 300 kilometers away from the Moon’s South Pole. This area is named after astronomer Charles Malapert.

Odysseus began its journey aboard the SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket as it launched from the Kennedy Space Centre on February 15. The spacecraft separated from the rocket minutes after it entered the coldness of space.

The Odysseus spacecraft took the same route as that taken by the Apollo missions to the Moon. Using this direct path, mon is reached in just eight days, unlike India’s Chandrayaan-3 which took weeks to manoeuvre around Earth to gain additional speed to reach the Moon.

The Odysseus lander is carrying a suite of six payloads for NASA under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. They include scientific instruments to measure the plasma environment and provide data for future Artemis astronauts.

This spacecraft will be used to capture some of the first images of the Milky Way Galaxy Center from the Moon.

With Odysseus now in its destined location on the Moon, it has seven days for its operations till the long night descends on the lunar south pole.


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