Intuitive Machines has announced that its first automated IM-1 mission will land this year not in the Oceanus Procellarum, as planned, but near the South Pole. In this regard, it will take place later.
Intuitive Machines moves the landing site
On February 6, representatives of Intuitive Machines announced that they were moving the landing site of their IM-1 lunar mission. Previously, it was planned to be carried out in the Oceanus Procellarum, relatively close to the equator of our natural moon. The reason for this was the flat terrain and the lunar day, which lasted almost two weeks.
But now the lander will be sent closer to the South Pole. The exact coordinates of the place where it will touch the surface are not reported. But the head of the company, Josh Marshall, said that it would be the circumpolar crater Malapert A.
Even more interesting is that, according to the statement, now the landing of the IM-1 should be expected at the end of June. And this somewhat contradicted what was said about this mission before. Before that, it was about launching in the first quarter of 2023. Marshall did not answer a direct question about the postponement of the mission.
Role of the Artemis program
Intuitive Machines did not hide that the idea to move the landing site closer to the pole was proposed to them by NASA. The company has been a member of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program since 2019. The last one provides for the transportation by spacecraft of commercial companies of various auxiliary cargoes necessary for the implementation of the Artemis program.
The company confirmed that the decision was made after NASA agreed to increase funding for CLPS and helped choose a new landing point. The Malapert A crater is one of the possible targets of the first manned Artemis mission, which should reach the surface of the Moon in 2025.
Obviously, Intuitive Machines are even ready to postpone the mission for this. Representatives of the company said that NASA’s assistance would positively affect their ability to complete the program, but they did not say how this would happen.
Now the company is going through a difficult moment. It is in the process of merging with the Inflation Point Acquisition Corporation. It is planned that on February 8, shareholders will have to vote for the final merger.
According to Spacenews.com.
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