Odysseus probe lands on the Moon: Live broadcast

The Odysseus probe, built by Intuitive Machines, has successfully entered orbit around the Moon. Its landing at the South Pole will take place on the night of February 22-23 and will be broadcast live. 

Odysseus Technical Design

Odysseus was created as part of the NASA-funded CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program. Its main goal is to attract commercial companies to explore the Moon. The amount of the contract for this mission was USD 77 million.

Odysseus probe (Nova-C). Source: Intuitive Machines

The mass of the Odysseus (when refueled) is 1931 kg. It is comparable in size to a telephone booth. Its dimensions are 2.2×2.4×3.9 meters. Twelve cargoes are placed on board the spacecraft. Six of them are owned by NASA. Among them are a laser reflector, a stereo camera for studying dust plumes that will be lifted by the landing platform engines, radio tools, lidar, as well as a device for a navigation experiment. The total weight of the cargo provided by NASA is 39 kg.

An image of the Earth taken by the Odysseus probe. Source: Intuitive Machines

The remaining six cargoes were provided by various private customers — from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to the artist Jeff Koons, whose sculptural installation decorated the probe body. The most interesting of them is the EagleCAM selfie camera, which will be dropped by Nova-C before landing and should capture the landing of the spacecraft.

Live broadcast of the landing

Odysseus was launched on February 15th. On February 21, the Earth messenger successfully performed a maneuver that transferred it to a circular selenocentric 92 km high. In honor of this event, Intuitive Machines published a selfie of the spacecraft taken over the Moon.

A selfie of the Odysseus probe in lunar orbit. Source: Intuitive Machines

Now Odysseus will have to carry out the final and most important stage of its mission — a soft landing. The spacecraft should land in the 24-kilometer Malapert A crater, located about 300 km from the South Pole of the moon. Not far from it is the so-called Malapert massif, its peak is considered as one of the possible landing sites of the Artemis III expedition.

NASA will broadcast the landing live on Youtube. It will begin on February 22 at 11:00 p.m. UTC time. If all goes well, Odysseus will touch the lunar surface on February 23 at 00:30 a.m. UTC time. If successful, Intuitive Machines will make history as the first private company to deliver cargo to the moon.

Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time