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The Odysseus lunar lander crashes upon landing and experiences communication difficulties

The Odysseus lunar lander crashes upon landing and experiences communication difficulties

The Odysseus module, the first American spacecraft to land on the moon after the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, fell off upon landing and ended up on its side, making communications difficult, Intuitive Machines said.

Company President Steve Altemus admitted Friday that one of the feet of the six-foot module got stuck on the moon's surface, causing Odysseus to fall on his side, possibly onto a rock.

“So far, we have a lot of operational capacity” despite the setback, Altimus told reporters.

But the president of Intuitive Machines said some antennas ended up being pointed at the moon's surface, limiting flight controllers' ability to obtain data.

The antennas were placed on top of the lander, at a height of 4.3 metres, to facilitate communications at the moon's south pole, a mountainous, cratered area with little sunlight.

However, Ultimus said that Odysseus should be able to transmit scientific data and images to Earth.

On Thursday, Odysseus landed in Malbert A crater, about 300 kilometers from the moon's south pole, where he will remain for about seven days until “night falls” in this region and the machine becomes inoperable.

The module, which carries NASA experiments, reached the surface of the moon seven days after its lift-off from the Kennedy Space Center, in Cape Canaveral, in Florida (southeast), supported by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

This was also the first North American private spacecraft to reach Earth's natural satellite, a feat achieved by only five countries.

Another company tried last month, but it never reached the moon, and the vehicle crashed into Earth.

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