Science

Another NASA-SpaceX backed US firm to launch Moon mission on Valentine’s Day

NASA backed private US company Intuitive Machines aims to launch a lander on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on February 14 Valentine's Day.

New Delhi: NASA backed private US company Intuitive Machines aims to launch a lander on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on February 14 Valentine’s Day.

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This comes after another NASA-backed company Astrobiotic Technology’s lunar lander, last month, suffered “critical” fuel loss and could not make it on the Moon.

Houston-based Intuitive IM-1 lunar lander is scheduled to lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Feb. 14 at 12:57 a.m. EST, sending Intuitive Machines’ robotic Nova-C lander “Odysseus” toward Earth’s nearest neighbour.

If all goes well, Odysseus will try to make history, becoming the first-ever private spacecraft to land softly on the lunar surface on February 22.

“As we prepare to embark on our IM-1 mission to the Moon, we carry with us the collective spirit of perseverance, fueled by the dedication and hard work of everyone on our team,” said Intuitive Machines President and CEO Steve Altemus, in a statement.

“Their tireless efforts have brought us to this moment, where we stand on the precipice of history, humbled by the gravity of our mission, yet emboldened by the boundless possibilities that lie ahead,” he added.

If successful, the mission will bring the US back to the lunar terrain after about 50 years.

The US has not attempted a moon landing since Apollo 17 in December 1972.

The IM-1 mission will be the Company’s first attempted lunar landing as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (“CLPS”) initiative, a key part of NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration efforts.

The science and technology payloads sent to the Moon’s surface as part of CLPS intend to lay the foundation for human missions and a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.

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