IM-1 ‘Odysseus’ lander on track to Moon landing on Friday morning

Intuitive Machines is poised to undertake its Moon landing at the end of this week, with its journey to the lunar surface proceeding without major issue.

The ‘Odysseus’ Nova-C lander can start its landing procedures from 9.49am AEDT Friday 23 February (5.49pm USET Thursday 22 February).

It’s scheduled to land near the Malapert A crater in the Moon’s southern polar region.

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Odysseus has performed a series of engine manoeuvres since its launch from the Kennedy Space Centre last week.

Two engine commissioning and trajectory correction manoeuvres (TCM) have been performed so far, each lasting less than a minute. In its latest update, Intuitive Machines confirmed a third TCM would not be required.

“Odysseus continues to be in excellent health and is approximately 68,000 km from the Moon,” Intuitive Machines wrote in its latest update. “Over the next several hours, flight controllers will continue to analyse the flight data ahead of LOI [Lunar Orbit Insertion].”

If Intuitive Machines is successful in landing Odysseus, it will become the first private enterprise to place a vehicle on the Moon’s surface. It will also mark the first time a US ‘flagged’ vessel has completed a lunar landing in 52 years.

As with NASA’s Apollo missions, the CSIRO’s Murriyang radio telescope at Parkes in NSW will receive data from the spacecraft throughout its exploration.

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