Odysseus did not fall on its side: Intuitive Machines obtained encouraging data

Last week, the first landing of an American spacecraft on the moon in the last 50 years took place. The Odysseus lander from the private company Intuitive Machines touched the surface of our moon. But after the euphoria of a successful mission, a bitter disappointment came – the spacecraft was damaged during landing and, according to early information from the space company, fell on its side. Although this did not prevent it from continuing and keeping in touch with the Earth. On February 28, Intuitive Machines published the received photographs. They show the damage received by the module during landing and its stay on the surface of the Moon.

This image shows how one of the legs of the Odysseus lander broke as a result of impact from the first contact with the Moon’s surface. Authorship: Intuitive Machines 

Despite this, the company considers the mission a success, as it was possible to carry out a controlled soft landing and obtain scientific data on all payloads.

An ultra-wide-angle version of the image sent by the Odysseus lander during landing on February 22 shows how the landing leg breaks off, and lunar mud is lifted by engine exhaust fumes. Image authorship: Intuitive Machines

The photos show damage to the landing leg on the left side of the Odysseus. A cloud of dust and rocks that were ejected by the lander’s engines is also visible. The damage to the support appeared to occur when the vehicle landed about 1.5 km from the planned landing site in an area where the altitude was higher than planned. This deviation caused the lander to land faster than planned, which is why the device literally “slipped” on the surface of the Moon and tilted. But there is good news — it does not lie completely on its side, but rather strongly tilted at an acute angle of about 30°.

“Odysseus does not lie completely on its side. It’s just not perfectly vertical, but at an angle of 30°. However, this does not prevent the spacecraft from working — we managed to contact all six payloads from NASA, as well as all six commercial cargoes,” Steve Altemus, chief executive officer and co–founder of Intuitive Machines, said at a briefing.

In the first few days after landing, the lander had communication problems, but the team eventually received about 50 MB of data from various cargo on board.

This image, taken from the Odysseus camera with a narrow field of view, shows the lander, which is tilted but not completely on its side. Image authorship: Intuitive Machines

However, it was not without problems. Due to the large tilt, the Odysseus will discharge sooner than the mission expected. Although there is a chance that the spacecraft will survive a long and very cold lunar night.

Earlier, we reported on how the overturned Odysseus had less than a day left to “live” on the Moon.

According to universetoday.com

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