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 Odysseus private moon lander (1) infographic
Graphic shows facts and specs of the IM-1 Mission.


U.S. company makes historic moon landing

By Jordi Bou

February 23, 2024 - A moon lander built by aerospace company Intuitive Machines of Houston has made the first U.S. lunar touchdown in more than a half century and the first by a privately owned spacecraft.

It took some minutes for controllers to establish that the company’s Nova-C lander, nicknamed Odysseus, was down, but eventually a signal was received.

The landmark flight represents the first controlled descent to the lunar surface by a U.S. spacecraft since the final Apollo crewed moon mission in 1972, and the first by a private company.

Odysseus lifted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket flown by SpaceX from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, on February 15.

Odysseus is carrying a range of scientific instruments, designed to gather data about the lunar environment ahead of NASA's planned return of astronauts to the moon later this decade.

Its arrival also marks the first soft landing under NASA’s Artemis lunar programme, as the U.S. races to return astronauts to Earth’s satellite before China lands its own crewed spacecraft there.