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Houston’s Intuitive Machines Makes History With First Commercial Moon Landing

Houston’s Intuitive Machines has become the first commercial company to land a spacecraft on the moon. It is also the first time a U.S. spacecraft has reached the moon in over 50 years.

The company’s 14-foot-tall Nova C lander successfully landed on the lunar surface on February 22 after four years of preparation. This marks a new era in lunar exploration.

“Today, for the first time in the history of humanity, a commercial company — an American company — launched and led the voyage up there,” said NASA administrator Bill Nelson in a pre-recorded message. “Today is a day that shows the power and promise of NASA’s commercial partnerships.”

NASA has invested $2.6 billion in contracts with Intuitive Machines and other commercial companies to launch more missions over the next four years. Through these partnerships, NASA expects to save money to achieve its Moon-to-Mars goal. 

NASA scientist Sue Lederer said more missions could be launched with these partnership missions. The agency expects an average of one mission per year, which is far more than the one mission per 10 years that NASA could achieve alone.

“We can expand our understanding of the technology much more rapidly,” Lederer said. “So this is a really important way for us to very quickly expand our understanding of spaceflight.”

The Nova C lander, also named Odysseus, is now near the moon’s south pole, where it will use solar power to collect data. The vehicle will have seven days of sunlight before shutting down.

According to the Houston Chronicle, almost all of the spacecraft was built in Houston, and the names of the crew members were etched into the bottom of the landing year. Their names will have a permanent place on the moon.

Written by RA News staff.


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