Intuitive Machines Will Land Odysseus Spacecraft On Lunar Surface Today, Watch Here

hero intuitive machines lunar lander over moon
Intuitive Machines, as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, is readying to attempt the first successful lunar landing of a spacecraft by the US since Apollo 17 in 1972. An attempt by Astrobotics to land on the moon last month was thwarted following an anomaly shortly after launch, which prevented the team from being able to achieve a stable-sun pointing orientation.

Following a delay due to off-nominal methane temperatures, Intuitive Machines launched its Nova-C class lunar lander aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket last week. Shortly after launch, Intuitive Machines released a statement reporting the IM-1 mission Nova-C class lunar lander had successfully commissioned in space and established radio communications contact with the company’s mission operations center in Houston. Since that time, the company has reported the spacecraft, named Odysseus, has remained in a healthy state and successfully entered lunar orbit.

lunar landing demonstration image

In a tweet late yesterday, Intuitive Machines posted that flight controllers had analyzed the “post-Lunar Orbit Insertion” engine burn data and updated its expected flight maneuver timing, which included an expected 5:30pm ET landing opportunity.

According to NASA, all of its science instruments on board have completed their transit checkouts, received data, and are operating as expected. The only scientific instrument that has not completed the checklist is the Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA) instrument, due to it not being able to conduct any operations in transit.

odysseus lunar surface image
Image of lunar surface captured by Intuitive Machine's lunar lander.

The soft landing attempt is currently expected to be near Malapert A in the South Pole region of the Moon. According to Intiuitive Machines, Odysseus is equipped with “state-of-the-art equipment,” including a propulsion system that is powered by a mix of liquid oxygen and liquid methane. The landing site chosen is believed to be made of lunar highland material, which is similar in nature to the Apollo 16 landing site.

NASA awarded Intuitive Machines a task order for scientific payload delivery in May 2019. The space agency is also working with several US companies to deliver science and technology to the lunar surface through the CLPS initiative, which NASA says is a crucial part to the upcoming Artemis lunar exploration efforts.

If all plans hold, live coverage of the lunar landing will begin at 4:00pm ET, with the landing scheduled for approximately 5:30pm ET, via NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.We've also embedded the livestream above, so stick around!

*** Update 2/22/2024 11:30am ET: Intuitive Machines has updated the lunar landing time. As of right now, coverage will begin at 3:00pm ET, with the landing attempt taking place at approximately 4:24pm ET.

*** Update 2/22/2024 2:57pm ET: Intuitive Machines posted that live coverage will now begin at 5pm ET, with a lunar landing attempt at approximately 6:24pm ET.