Quick access to top menu Direct access to main contents Quick access to page bottom

NASA’s Big Reveal: Odysseus Lunar Lander Captured in Stunning Orbit Photo

A photo of the lunar lander released by NASA captured 56 miles above the moon / NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University/AP=Yonhap News

NASA released a photo of the uncrewed spacecraft of the private company Intuitive Machines, taken from lunar orbit on the 26th.

This comes about four days after the announcement of the successful lunar landing of this spacecraft, Odysseus (Nova-C).

NASA explained that this image was taken on the 24th by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), flying in lunar orbit about 56 miles above the lunar surface.

In the released image, a rice-sized object marked with an arrow can be seen casting a shadow. However, since the photo was taken from such a long distance, there is a limit to seeing a clear image of the spacecraft, even in the enlarged image.

NASA explained that Odysseus is located at a spot with a latitude of 80.13 degrees south, a longitude of 1.44 degrees east, and an altitude of 8,445 feet, and is landed inside a crater with a diameter of 0.62 miles and a slope of 12 degrees.

Intuitive Machines added in a press release today that the current location of Odysseus is within 0.93 miles of the intended target, Malapert A of the lunar south pole.

They also released close-up photos taken by Odysseus during its lunar landing for the first time.

Image of the moon landing just before Odysseus, released by Intuitive Machines / Intuitive Machines/AFP=Yonhap News

Previously, Odysseus was announced to have made a soft landing near Malapert A at 5:24 PM (Central US time) on the 22nd.

This lunar landing excited Americans as it was the first time a US spacecraft had reached the moon in half a century since Apollo 17 in 1972, and it was the world’s first achievement by a private company.

NASA also emphasized the exceptional achievement of landing closest in history to the lunar south pole, which is believed to be rich in frozen water.

According to NASNA, Odysseus carries six pieces of NASA’s equipment that have already been activated and successfully tested.

Especially a few hours before the lunar landing, the flight controllers of Intuitive Machines selected a precise landing point using NASA’s Navigation Doppler Lidar (NDL) as a substitute when a problem occurred with the laser navigation system sensor of Odysseus.

In addition, they secured data by measuring the amount of cryogenic propellant in the spacecraft’s fuel tank with a radio frequency mass spectrometer, and NASA explained that they also collected data on how the lunar surface interacts with the smoke emitted by the spacecraft’s engine during the moon landing process.

At a press conference on the 23rd (local time), it was revealed that the lunar lander Odysseus is believed to be lying on its side / NASA TV/AFP=Yonhap News

However, the company stated at a press conference on the 23rd that it is believed that Odysseus is lying on its side because one of the legs of the spacecraft got caught on a protruding part of the surface when it landed on the moon.

The company explained that some antennas attached to the body face the lunar surface, resulting in difficulty transmitting data.

Despite this, the company said that Odysseus’s charging status was good at the time and expected it to operate for up to nine days.

However, the company stated today, “Based on the position of the Earth and the Moon, we believe that our flight controllers will be able to communicate with Odysseus until Tuesday morning (27th).”

CNN interpreted this as meaning that Odysseus’ operation would be suspended on the morning of the 27th, saying, “It will operate for less than five days on the lunar surface.”

This spacecraft is equipped with an EagleCam designed by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, which was intended to pop out during the moon landing and capture vivid images of the spacecraft. However, the software was changed due to a last-minute navigation system problem and did not operate as planned.

The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University stated on the 25th that this camera equipment is still confirmed to be operational, and they are exploring ways to reposition this equipment and photograph the current state of the spacecraft.

Following the announcement of a successful moon landing, the stock price of Intuitive Machines increased to $9.59 on the 23rd. However, the stock market saw a decline of over 30% on the same day, as concerns over potential flaws in the mission, such as the possibility of the spacecraft tipping over, were raised.

wikitree's Profile image




Share it on