First pictures from Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus

Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus explains how the company’s IM-1 lander tipped over on the moon’s surfacing during a NASA press conference on Feb. 22, 2024.

NASA TV

Intuitive Machines’ cargo lander, Odysseus, returned its first images from the moon’s surface over the weekend, as the spacecraft settles in to its lunar destination.

The company’s historic IM-1 mission is now operating on the moon after landing on Thursday, becoming the first privately developed spacecraft to soft land on the lunar surface.

Intuitive Machines initially reported Odysseus was standing upright. But in an update late Friday, company executives said they believe the spacecraft caught its landing gear sideways in the moon’s surface while touching down and tipped over.

Despite resting on its side, Odysseus is still sending back data. Intuitive Machines expects Odysseus to operate until Tuesday morning, when its solar panels will no longer be exposed to the sun.

Intuitive Machines’ stock fell 35% in Monday trading to close at $6.27 a share.

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The Odysseus lander carried 12 government and commercial payloads — six of which are for NASA under a $118 million contract through the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services, or CLPS, initiative.

NASA leadership emphasized the IM-1 mission was still successful despite the spacecraft tipping over, calling the landing “a gigantic accomplishment.”

The Nova-C lunar lander designed by aerospace company Intuitive Machines is displayed at the company’s headquarters in Houston, Texas, on Oct. 3, 2023.

Staff | Reuters

One of the payloads, “EagleCam,” is a small camera developed by Embry‑Riddle Aeronautical University. Originally, EagleCam was to be ejected in the final moments of Odysseus’ landing, to capture the first images of a moon landing from outside a spacecraft, but an issue with the lander’s navigation system meant the camera did not deploy. Embry-Riddle’s team said Intuitive Machines still plans to release EagleCam from the lander at a later time.

Here are some of the initial images from the landing:

Coming in for landing

The company’s cargo lander Odysseus is seen flying toward the lunar surface in preparation for its landing on Feb. 22, 2024.

Intuitive Machines

On the surface

A wide field-of-view image taken shortly after Odysseus tipped over.

Intuitive Machines

Spotted from above

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera identified Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus lander on the surface.

NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

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