The company says that a private US spaceship is on the moon


A U.S. company says its moon lander is on its side near the lunar south polePrivate US spacecraft is on its side on the moon with some antennas covered up, the company saysCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A private U.S. lunar lander tipped over at touchdown and ended up on its side near the moon’s south pole, hampering communications, company officials said Friday.
But some antennas were pointed toward the surface, limiting flight controllers’ ability to get data down, Altemus said.
The antennas were stationed high on the 14-foot (4.3-meter) lander to facilitate communications at the hilly, cratered and shadowed south polar region.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will attempt to pinpoint the lander’s location, as it flies overhead this weekend.
With Thursday’s touchdown, Intuitive Machines became the first private business to pull off a moon landing, a feat previously achieved by only five countries.
Japan was the latest country to score a landing, but its lander also ended up on its side last month.
Intuitive Machines anticipates just another week of operations on the moon for the solar-powered lander — nine or 10 days at most — before lunar nightfall hits.
The company was the second business to aim for the moon under NASA’s commercial lunar services program.
NASA’s new effort to return astronauts to the moon is named Artemis after Apollo’s mythological twin sister.
___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group.

A U. s. The lunar lander, according to the company, is tipped over close to the south pole.

The US spacecraft, according to the company, is lying on its side on the moon with some of its antennas hidden.

The Florida city of Cape Coral. — An individual U. s. Company representatives said on Friday that the lunar lander’s descent caused it to topple over and land on its side close to the moon’s south pole, disrupting communications.

Following Thursday’s touchdown, Intuitive Machines initially thought its six-footed lander, Odysseus, was upright. CEO Steve Altemus, however, stated on Friday that the craft “caught a foot in the surface,” toppling over and possibly resting against a rock beneath it. He said it might have broken a leg because it was approaching too quickly.

He told reporters, “Even though we’re tipped over, we have quite a bit of operational capability so far.”.

The ability of flight controllers to receive data was, however, hampered by some antennas pointing upward, according to Altemus. The antennas were positioned at an elevated position on the 14-foot (4point 3-meter) lander to enable communication in the hilly, cratered, and shaded south polar areas.

The first American, Odysseus. s. lander in over 50 years— is believed to be less than 200 miles (300 kilometers) from the south pole, and only a few miles (kilometers) from its planned landing site close to the Malapert A crater. In order to survey the area before astronauts arrive later this decade, NASA, the primary customer, wanted to go as close to the pole as feasible.

This weekend, as it passes over, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will make an effort to determine the location of the lander.

After only five countries had previously succeeded in landing on the moon, Intuitive Machines made history on Thursday by becoming the first private company to do so. Though its lander also landed on its side last month, Japan was the most recent nation to achieve a landing.

NASA provided major funding for Odysseus’s expedition, with their experiments being carried out on board. NASA funded the delivery with $118 million as part of a program designed to stimulate the lunar economy.

When the lander’s navigation system failed to activate, one of the NASA experiments was forced into action. When Intuitive Machines attempted to utilize its lasers to enhance the lander’s orbit, it detected the issue beforehand. The failure would not have been discovered by flight controllers until five minutes before touchdown, if not for this reason.

Tim Crain, mission director, stated that “serendipity is absolutely the right word.”.

It turns out that the system could not activate in space because a switch was left unflipped prior to takeoff.

Launched last week from Florida, Odysseus made a second orbit of the moon on Thursday to give NASA’s laser system time to make a last-minute switch that ultimately saved the day, according to officials.

In order to take pictures of Odysseus’ landing, a cube equipped with four cameras was meant to launch 30 seconds prior to touchdown in another experiment. However, because of the navigation switch, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s EagleCam was purposefully turned off during the last descent and remained attached to the lander.

EagleCam, which can take pictures of the lander from a distance of about 26 feet (8 meters), is expected to be released in the next few days, according to Troy Henderson of Embry-Riddle.

Henderson stated to The Associated Press, “Getting that last image of the lander on the surface is still an extremely important task for us.”.

At most, nine or ten days remain for the solar-powered lander to operate on the moon before lunar nightfall, according to Intuitive Machines.

This was the second company under NASA’s commercial lunar services program to set its sights on the moon. Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technologies attempted it last month, but the mission was cut short due to a fuel leak on the lander, and the craft ultimately crashed back to Earth.

Prior to Thursday, the U.S. S. NASA’s renowned moon landing program came to an end in December 1972 when astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt of Apollo 17 made their last lunar landing. NASA’s latest endeavor to send humans back to the moon is called Artemis, after the mythological twin sister of Apollo. At the latest in 2026, the first Artemis crew landing is scheduled to occur.

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