SpaceX defers launch of Intuitive Machines Moon lander by a day

Posted by

SpaceX has announced that it is standing down from the launch of the Intuitive Machines 1 mission. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was supposed to carry a lunar lander from the private American company, Intuitive Machines to Earth orbit on February 14. However, SpaceX engineers detected off-nominal temperatures in the methane, before it could be loaded onto the rocket. SpaceX is now looking to launch the lander on 15 February, 2024 at 1:05 hours ET, or 11:35 hours IST. The launch will be livestreamed by NASA with pre-launch programming beginning about forty five minutes before the launch.

The only passenger on board is the Odysseus lander from the Nova-C platform by Intuitive Machines, a private American aerospace company. The lander is one of several developed by private American industries to provide democratic, on-demand access to the lunar surface, as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) programme, which is itself a part of the ambitious Artemis programme. The lander is loaded with payloads from NASA itself, as well as from private industries and academic institutions. NASA intends to establish regular flights to the lunar surface with the CLPS programme. The Odysseus lander will be the second CLPS mission to attempt a lunar landing, with Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander failing to reach the lunar surface last month.

The destination of the Odysseus lander is the Oceanus Procellarum, a dark lava plain on the near side of the Moon. The location is close to the south pole of the Moon, where the sunlight falls at an angle. Odysseus will be landing in the middle of the lunar day, and can only generate electricity for its payloads using the solar panels. The delay means that the lander has one less day for operations on the lunar surface. The sensitive electronic instruments on board cannot survive the long and harsh lunar nights, where temperatures can dip to -270ºC.

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *