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(130,315 posts)
Wed Feb 21, 2024, 05:38 PM Feb 21

Commercial moon lander brakes into orbit, setting stage for historic landing attempt Thursday [View all]

Source: CBS News

February 21, 2024 / 12:34 PM EST

The Odysseus lunar lander fired its main engine for six minutes and 48 seconds Wednesday, putting the spacecraft into a 57-mile-high orbit around the moon and setting the stage for a landing try Thursday, the first for a U.S. spacecraft in more than 50 years.

"Odysseus is now closer to the moon than the end-to-end distance driving across Space City, Houston," spacecraft builder Intuitive Machines said on its web page. "Over the next day, while the lander remains in lunar orbit, flight controllers will analyze the complete flight data and transmit imagery of the moon.

"Odysseus continues to be in excellent health," the company added. If all goes well, Odysseus will begin its descent to the surface Thursday afternoon, touching down near a crater known as Malapert A, 186 miles from the moon's south pole, at 5:49 p.m. EST.

"You know, of all the missions mounted to the moon in the history of mankind, there's only been a 40 percent success rate," Steve Altemus, a former space shuttle engineer and co-founder of Intuitive Machines, told CBS News in an interview last year. "We believe we can do better than that. And so, I put our odds at 75 percent success." The odds are presumably better than that now, given the main engine's actual performance in space.

Read more: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/moon-orbit-landing-attempt-thursday-intuitive-machines-odysseus/

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