US Moon Landing: Private spacecraft completes historic touchdown on lunar surface for first time in 50 years

The United States completed its first lunar landing in more than 50 years with a spacecraft built and operated by a Texas-based private company.

Published on Feb 23, 2024  |  01:43 PM IST |  36K
Image Courtesy: Getty Images
Image Courtesy: Getty Images
Key Highlight
  • US achieved a significant milestone by landing its first spacecraft on the Moon in over 50 years
  • Odysseus was launched on February 15 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

After more than 50 years, a Texas-based company has accomplished a major milestone: the landing of America's first spacecraft on the Moon.

US lands the lunar surface in 50 years with a private spacecraft

Odysseus, an unmanned robot lander funded by NASA and constructed by Houston-based Intuitive Machines, made touchdown close to the lunar south pole on Thursday at approximately 23:23 GMT, the firm reported in a webcast.

After a dramatic final descent during which flight controllers had to switch to an unproven landing technique due to an issue with the spacecraft's autonomous navigation system, the landing was successful. 

According to the webcast, when communication was eventually established again, the signal was weak, indicating that the lander had indeed touched down but leaving mission control instantly unsure of the exact state and position of the vehicle.

About Odysseus

Intuitive Machines provided an additional $130 million in funding before to the launch on February 15 from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on a Falcon 9 rocket owned by Elon Musk's SpaceX company. Nasa provided $118 million to get it off the ground.

The hexagon-shaped spaceship carried goods transported on behalf of private clients, including Columbia Sportswear's newest insulating jacket fabric, as well as NASA's research instruments, including cameras and a gadget to analyze clouds of charged dust particles.


It is expected that the solar-powered Odysseus would function on the moon's surface for a week before the lander becomes unusable due to the lunar night.

NASA administrator hails the landing

The landing was hailed by NASA administrator Bill Nelson as a "triumph for humanity" and a "new adventure in research, creativity, and American leadership in space. He said, "Today, for the first time in half a century, the US has returned to the Moon. Today for the first time in the history of humanity, a commercial company, an American company, launched and led the voyage up there. And today is a day that shows the power and promise of NASA’s commercial partnerships."

This was the first time any US-built spacecraft had touched down on the moon since NASA's most recent crewed mission, the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. It was also the first commercial vehicle landing on the moon since Peregrine One, another partnership between NASA and Astrobotic, failed last month.

ALSO READ: India Implements a New FDI Policy, Allowing 100% Foreign Investment in the Space Industry: DEETS INSIDE


Know more about NASA

Who was the person to walk on the moon from USA?
American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the Moon.

Who is the founder of NASA?
Dwight D. Eisenhower is the founder of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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