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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

US Odysseus mission lands on Moon but signal weak, status uncertain


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Washington: The Intuitive Machines Odysseus lander touched down on the Moon and sent back a weak signal to Earth after some minutes of initial uncertainty, NASA officials said.

“For the first time in more than half a century the United States has returned to the Moon,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said.

“Odysseus has found its new home, ” mission director Tim Crane said.

The signal from the Odysseus lander was lost for about seven minutes after touchdown and although the signal was then reacquired, it remained very weak, Intuitive Machines flight controllers said.

In addition, the status of the spacecraft and the robotic missions it carried might not be confirmed for many hours.

Intuitive Machines, the Texas-based company that built the lander under a contract with NASA, said on Thursday that Odysseus has started to send data after troubleshooting communications.

“After troubleshooting communications, flight controllers have confirmed Odysseus is upright and starting to send data,” the company said on X.

The company’s staff is now working to downlink the first images from the lunar surface, the post said.

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