Wednesday, February 21, 2024

IM-1 Robotic Moon Mission Pre-Landing Update | Intuitive Machines

IM-1 Robotic Moon Mission Pre-Landing Update | Intuitive Machines

IM-1 Mission Nova-C Moon robotic lander, named "Odysseus", after lunar orbit insertion.
IM-1 Mission Nova-C Moon Lander Flight Plan for Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
IM-1 Mission Nova-C Moon Lander Odysseus’ Terrain Relative Navigation camera captured this image of the Bel’kovich K crater in the Moon’s northern equatorial highlands on Feb. 21, 2024. It is an approximate 50 km diameter crater with mountains in the center, made when the crater was formed.

The IM-1 Mission Nova-C Moon Lander, named "Odysseus", is targeted to touch down at the lunar South Pole at 5:30pm ET (2230 UTC) Feb. 22, 2024. The lander continues to be in excellent health.
All powered NASA science instruments on board have completed their transit checkouts, received data, and are operating as expected, including: LN-1 (Lunar Node 1 Navigation Demonstrator), NDL (Navigation Doppler Lidar for Precise Velocity and Range Sensing), RFMG (Radio Frequency Mass Gauge), ROLSES (Radio-wave Observations at the Lunar Surface of the Photoelectron Sheath), SCALPSS (Stereo Cameras for Lunar Plume-Surface Studies). Since the LRA (Laser Retroreflector Array) instrument is a passive experiment designed for the lunar surface, it cannot conduct any operations in transit. 

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If all goes well, IM-1 will become the first American spacecraft to set down softly on the Moon’s surface since the NASA Apollo 17 moon landing in 1972.

China's Chang'e 3 Mission, the first Chinese landing on the Moon in 2013, was the first spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 in 1976.

In 2023, after the Chandrayaan-3 Lander successfully soft-landed on the Moon, India became the fourth country, after the United States, Russia and China, to accomplish this.

NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative allows NASA to send science investigations and technology demonstrations to the lunar surface. Under Artemis, NASA will study more of the Moon than ever before, and CLPS will demonstrate how NASA is working with commercial companies to achieve robotic lunar exploration.

Learn more about CLPS:

Image Credit: Intuitive Machines

Release Date: Feb. 21, 2024

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