Odysseus moon lander continues to generate power, Intuitive Machines says

By Thomson Reuters Feb 28, 2024 | 8:47 AM

(Reuters) – Intuitive Machines said on Wednesday its Odysseus moon lander continues to generate solar power, allowing flight controllers to gather data from the south pole region.

Flight controllers are analyzing new solar charging data and using additional time to maximize tasks, the company said.

Intuitive Machines said it will hold a news conference with NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston at 2 p.m. ET to discuss the mission.

The company had said on Tuesday the battery of Odysseus, the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the moon since 1972, was in its final hours before the vehicle goes dark.

The spacecraft reached the lunar surface last Thursday after an 11th-hour navigational glitch and white-knuckle descent that ended with it landing in a sharply tilted position that has impeded its communications and solar-charging capability.

Intuitive Machines said the next day that human error was to blame for the navigational issue.

Flight readiness teams had neglected to manually unlock a safety switch before launch, preventing subsequent activation of the vehicle’s laser-guided range finders and forcing flight engineers to hurriedly improvise an alternative during lunar orbit.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)