Last stop on the way to the Moon: Nova-C probe arrives at Cape Canaveral

The Nova-C spacecraft designed for the Moon landing was successfully delivered to Cape Canaveral. This is stated in a message published by Intuitive Machines.

Unloading the Nova-C spacecraft from a transport container. Source: Intuitive Machines

In 2019, Intuitive Machines became one of the participants in the NASA-funded CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program. Its main goal is to attract commercial companies to explore the Moon.

As part of its first mission under contract with NASA, the company plans to send the Nova-C spacecraft to the Moon. It is supposed to land in the 24-kilometer Malapert A crater, located about 300 kilometers from the South Pole of the moon. Eleven cargoes will be placed on board the spacecraft. Five are owned by NASA, the rest are provided by various private customers, from Embry-Riddle Aviation University to the artist Jeff Koons.

At the moment, the launch of Noca-C is scheduled for January 12, 2024. A Falcon 9 rocket will be used for the mission. It is reported that the spacecraft will take 6.5 days to reach the Moon and land. This means that if there are no postponements and the mission is successful, Intuitive Machines can write itself into history as the first private company to successfully deliver cargo to the lunar surface.

Another contender for this title is Astrobotic. The launch of its Peregrine lunar spacecraft is scheduled for December 24, 2023. However, due to the need to wait for the necessary lighting conditions in the landing zone, the landing will be able to take place only on January 25, 2024.

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