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Lunar Lander Company Stock Plummets After Incident

via WKMG
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The first American lunar landing since 1972, carried out by Intuitive Machines, experienced major complications when the lander Odysseus touched down at the Moon’s south pole.

While NASA celebrated the successful return, the lander ended up on its side after landing at a faster horizontal and vertical speed than intended.

“For the first time in more than half a century, America returned to the Moon. Congratulations to Intuitive Machines for placing the lunar lander Odysseus carrying NASA scientific instruments to a place no person or machine has gone before, the lunar South Pole,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said.

“This feat from Intuitive Machines, SpaceX, and NASA demonstrates the promise of American leadership in space and the power of commercial partnerships,” he said.

Intuitive Machines’ CEO revealed the difficult landing, with the craft coming down at 6 mph laterally and 2 mph vertically, tipping onto its side with only a piece of customer art facing downward.

“We think it came down (moving) about 6 miles an hour this way, and about 2 miles an hour (horizontally along the surface) and caught foot in the surface, and the lander has tipped like this,” CEO Steve Altemus said.

NASA is assessing whether the tilted orientation allows any of its scientific payloads to still obtain measurements as intended.

The landing was nearly a failure after the CEO learned just prior that a faulty navigation hardware was going to cause the loss of the mission, requiring an experimental radar to improvise and guide the craft to the surface instead.

“We are doing an assessment to see: Are there any measurements still to come from any of the NASA supplied payloads that most likely can’t take place particularly because of this new orientation?” said Joel Kearns, deputy associate administrator for exploration in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

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