‘Your order was delivered… to the Moon’; NASA’s Odysseus brightens human space mission hopes  

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Bill Nelson of NASA said that the day marked the first occasion in half a century that America has returned to the Moon.

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By S Jha

New Delhi, February 23: After the success of the Chandrayaan-2 Mission, the NASA too has landed the robotic lander on Moon on Friday. Before the eventual landing of the Odysseus, the NASA scientists faced tense moments as the private initiative made second entry in the orbit of Moon.

The unmanned spacecraft of the Intuitive Machines finally landed on the surface of Moon at 6.23 PM, US time. The NASA said: “The uncrewed lunar lander landed at 6:23pm ET (2323 UTC), bringing NASA science to the Moon’s surface. These instruments will prepare us for future human exploration of the Moon under Artemis.”

Bill Nelson of NASA said that the day marked the first occasion in half a century that America has returned to the Moon. He hailed the collaborative efforts of the Intuitive Machines, NASA, and SpaceX for the successful lunar mission. It may be noted that the US had last commissioned a successful lunar mission in 1972. SpaceX is the commercial venture of the billionaire Elon Musk.

Institutive Machines in a post on the social media platform X earlier gave details of the last minute troubleshooting to ensure that the mission was successful. It said: “After troubleshooting communications, flight controllers have confirmed Odysseus is upright and starting to send data. Right now, we are working to downlink the first images from the lunar surface.”

The Odysseus mission of the NASA was carried out as part of the Artemis programme. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is also collaborating with the NASA as part of the Artemis programme amid deepening of the India and the US ties.

Sharing details of the mission, Intitutive Machines said earlier that the flight controllers chose to exercise an additional orbit before starting the IM-1 Mission landing sequence. It may also be noted that SpaceX of Musk aspires to launch the human space missions in future. SpaceX is launching satellites of private enterprises, as well as of the space agencies of other countries.

The NASA also stated that the uncrewed Nova-C lander, named Odysseus, is the first American commercial lunar lander which made it to orbit around the Moon.

After India’s successful Chandrayaan-2 Mission, which saw successful landing of the Vikram lander, Japan also landed a mission on Moon. There are only four countries which have so far landed on the Moon. Russia and China have also carried out successful lunar missions. The ISRO had demonstrated the high-end capabilities by landing the Chandryaan-2 Mission on the South Pole of the Moon, which is considered most challenging. The ISRO would soon embark on the human mission as a part of the Ganganyan Mission and as a precursor a robot will soon be sent into the space.

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