lunar

Mission to the Moon: Intuitive Machines’ Fate Sealed as Lander Topples Too Soon

Intuitive Machines Odysseus Descending
Intuitive Machines’ first moon mission will come to a premature end due to the spacecraft landing on its side, which altered how the solar panels are positioned in relation to the sun, the company said in an update Tuesday morning. Intuitive Machines made history when it landed its spacecraft, called Odysseus, near the lunar south pole last week. The lander is the first American hardware to touch the lunar surface since NASA’s final crewed Apollo mission in 1972. It’s also the first privately built and operated spacecraft to land on the moon — ever – and the closest a lander has ever come to the lunar south pole. Intuitive Machines and NASA leadership will host a second televised news conference tomorrow to discuss updates to the mission.

“Groundbreaking Achievement: Intuitive Machines Successfully Lands First Commercial Spacecraft on the Moon”

Intuitive Machines Odysseus
Intuitive Machines has landed a spacecraft on the lunar surface, in a historic first for a private company. “What we can confirm without a doubt is that our equipment is on the surface of the moon and we are transmitting,” mission director and Intuitive Machines CTO Tim Crain said. Instead, the lander leveraged one of the onboard payloads, NASA’s laser and doppler lidar sensors, to guide the spacecraft to the lunar surface. All in all, Intuitive Machines’ contract is worth a little less than $118 million. Intuitive Machines’ victory comes shortly after another CLPS awardee, Astrobotic, failed to put its lander on the moon.

Inverted Landing: Japan’s SLIM spacecraft successfully touches down on the moon, upside-down

Jaxa Slim Landing 1
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Company shared the first image of its lander on the lunar surface, revealing that the spacecraft touched down on the moon upside-down. It’s a remarkable recovery for the spacecraft, which experienced an “abnormality in the main engine” that affecting the landing orientation when it was just 50 meters above the lunar surface, JAXA said in an update Thursday. Remarkably, the lander ended up just 55 meters east of the original target landing site. The lander was carrying two rovers; one of the rovers, called Lunar Exploration Vehicle-2, or SORA-Q, is responsible for the photo. The rovers were ejected from the spacecraft before landing.

The Successful Upside-Down Moon Landing of Japan’s SLIM Spacecraft

Jaxa Slim Landing
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Company shared the first image of its lander on the lunar surface, revealing that the spacecraft touched down on the moon upside-down. It’s a remarkable recovery for the spacecraft, which experienced an “abnormality in the main engine” that affecting the landing orientation when it was just 50 meters above the lunar surface, JAXA said in an update Thursday. Remarkably, the lander ended up just 55 meters east of the original target landing site. The lander was carrying two rovers; one of the rovers, called Lunar Exploration Vehicle-2, or SORA-Q, is responsible for the photo. The rovers were ejected from the spacecraft before landing.

“Spacecraft from Japan successfully lands on moon while Axiom embarks on third voyage with SpaceX”

Tc Space Hero 1
For the second week in a row, we have lunar lander news to report on. Story of the weekHow could the story of the week be anything other than SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon), the Japanese lunar lander that touched down on the moon on Friday? But even with the issue, the mission achieved a huge portion of its goal, which was to demonstrate a soft lunar landing using optical navigation technology. Launch highlightsWe saw our first crewed mission this year – but even more notably, it was a completely private mission (as in not a NASA astronaut mission). Axiom Space launched its third mission with launch partner SpaceX on Thursday, with the crew successfully docking with the International Space Station at 5:42 AM EST on Saturday, January 20.

SLIM Mission of Japan Successfully Lands on Moon but Time is Ticking Away

Slim Lander Render
Japan’s long-planned Smart Lander for Investigating Moon has successfully touched down on the lunar surface, making the nation the fifth in history to do so. But all is not well for SLIM, which may have a limited lease on life due to trouble with its solar cells. In a press conference following the early-morning (local time) landing on the Moon, the directors of JAXA and the mission explained that “The soft landing was itself successful; SLIM has been communicating and it receiving commands. However, as the other sensors are working correctly and showing healthy values, they feel confident it is limited to the solar cells themselves. The initial press conference was primarily to announce the initial success of a soft landing and functioning lunar lander.

Tomorrow, Earth’s Atmosphere Will Incinerate Astrobotic’s Lunar Lander

Peregrine Astrobotic 1
Astrobotic’s lunar lander will be reentering Earth’s atmosphere over a remote part of the South Pacific Ocean tomorrow afternoon, bringing to a close the failed moon landing mission. Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic has been providing frequent updates on the Peregrine lunar lander since it launched on United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur on January 8. The source of the anomaly was an ongoing propellant leak, which were preventing Peregrine from pointing its solar arrays at the sun. But by the time it reenters the atmosphere tomorrow, Peregrine will have operated in space for over ten days. Due to the propellant leak, Astrobotic said it had devised a two-step process to maneuver the spacecraft to the projected trajectory for reentry.

Unstoppable: Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lander Continues to Exceed Expectations in Lunar Orbit

Peregrine Astrobotic Ula Vulcan
Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander is still operating on orbit, with the company saying there is “growing optimism” that the spacecraft could survive in space longer than the current estimate. The Pittsburgh-based startup has been releasing a series of updates to social media platform X since the spacecraft’s launch in the early hours of Monday morning. Shortly after separating from the launch vehicle, United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur, engineers immediately started encountering issues. But despite all odds, Peregrine has been operational in space for more than four days, and the estimated operational time remaining continues to extend. The remaining 10 payloads on board are passive, and do not require power or communications from the spacecraft.

“Successful Moon Landing in Jeopardy: Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lander Experiences Propulsion Issue”

Peregrine Astrobotic
In a devastating series of updates earlier today, the Pittsburgh-based startup said a “failure within the propulsion system” is causing a critical loss of propellant. The propulsion system is a critical component of a spacecraft, but it’s especially important for this mission, which is taking an indirect path to the moon. NASA, likely sensing the difficulty of a moon landing, has issues awards to multiple companies under the program. Other awardees include Intuitive Machines, which is set to make its own lunar landing attempt next month, and Firefly Aerospace, which will conduct its first lunar mission later this year. A deputy administrator from NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Joel Kearns, said in a statement after launch that “each success and setback are opportunities to learn and grow.

“Moon Mission: United Launch Alliance and Astrobotic Set for Liftoff on Monday”

53410688196 Ee7c1e1ea6 K
United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket has been rolled to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station ahead of its early Monday morning launch, a mission that could end with the first fully private spacecraft landing on the moon. Vulcan’s primary payload is Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander. The two companies had been targeting a Christmas Eve launch, but ULA decided to postpone due to ground system issues. “We are ready for launch, and for landing.”ULA and Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic are not the only firms with much riding on Monday’s launch. That program, Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS), has collectively doled out hundreds of millions to spur private development of moon landers.