Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

Weeks after the Peregrine lunar lander failed, NASA is launching the IM-1 mission to touch down on the moon<!-- wp:html --><p>The Intuitive Machines Nova-C lander that's set to fly to the moon in February.</p> <p class="copyright">Intuitive Machines/NASA</p> <p>NASA and Intuitive Machines are trying to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/why-moon-landings-on-lunar-south-pole-crashed-2023-8" rel="noopener">land on the moon</a> in February.<a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/astrobotic-moon-lander-leaking-fuel-after-launch-threatening-mission-2024-1" rel="noopener">NASA's first attempt to return to the moon's surface</a>, in more than 50 years, failed last month.The new IM-1 mission is part of a multi-nation 21st-century race to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/nasa-scientist-microbial-life-hiding-on-moon-south-pole-2023-6" rel="noopener">the moon's south pole</a>.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/spacex-starlink-internet-satellites-night-sky-critics-2024-2" rel="noopener">SpaceX launches</a> are a dime a dozen these days, but this week the company could help make history. </p> <p>The Houston-based company <a target="_blank" href="https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/why-is-intuitive-machines-lunr-stock-up-today-2-1033058375" rel="noopener">Intuitive Machines</a>, in collaboration with NASA, is launching its first mission to the moon atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.</p> <p>If Intuitive Machines succeeds, it will not only become the first commercial company in history to land on the moon, but it will also help catapult the US into the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/nasa-china-race-to-the-moon-photos-launches-2022-11" rel="noopener">21st-century space race</a>.</p> <h2><strong>The US has fallen behind</strong></h2> <p>Despite being the first to land on the moon in 1969, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/moon-missions-why-astronauts-have-not-returned-2018-7" rel="noopener">NASA hasn't returned anything to the lunar surface</a> in the 21st century.</p> <p>Unlike <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/nasa-bill-nelson-warns-china-claim-moon-territory-lunar-resources-2023-1" rel="noopener">China</a>, India, and Japan, the US hasn't put anything on the lunar surface in more than 50 years.</p> <p>NASA made an attempt in January, collaborating with the company <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/us-moon-lander-peregrine-burn-up-earth-atmosphere-satellite-astrobotic-2024-1" rel="noopener">Astrobotic to launch the Peregrine</a> mission to the moon.</p> <p>But the lander never made it because a faulty valve caused a fuel leak that forced them to call off the mission mid-flight.</p> <p>Luckily, NASA already had its next attempt lined up.</p> <p>Through a $118 million contract, the agency is sponsoring Intuitive Machines to launch its first mission, called IM-1, toward the moon early Wednesday.</p> <p>A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida.</p> <p class="copyright">SOPA Images/Getty Images</p> <p>The mission's Nova-C lander should <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/watch-india-attempt-first-ever-moon-landing-2023-8" rel="noopener">descend to the lunar surface</a> just one week later, on February 22.</p> <p>If Nova-C, which is <span>a hexagonal cylinder about 14 feet tall and 5 feet wide,</span> achieves touchdown, NASA will get a chance to study the lunar surface with the six science instruments it has aboard, including a laser-based navigation system and a mini radio telescope test.</p> <p>With a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/nasa-sls-mega-rocket-unaffordable-costs-hit-20-billion-2023-9" rel="noopener">few exceptions</a>, this is <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/nasa-helping-private-companies-build-business-moon-make-lunar-billions-2023-6" rel="noopener">NASA's model for future deep-space exploration</a>: contract commercial entities to do the hard engineering, and then hitch a ride with its science.</p> <p>But this strategy has yet to put anything on the lunar surface for NASA. That could change next week, but a lot could go wrong.</p> <h2>The moon's graveyard of failed spacecraft is growing</h2> <p>A new crater on the moon, spotted by a NASA spacecraft, which was likely created by Russia's lunar lander crashing there.</p> <p class="copyright">NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-india-moon-landing-cost-cheap-compared-to-nasa-russia-2023-8" rel="noopener">Nailing a moon landing</a> is extremely difficult. India only achieved the feat a few years after crashing on its first attempt, and a few days after Russia attempted and crashed.</p> <p>Japan joined India in the ranks of 21st-century moon-goers in January, but its <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/japan-moon-probe-landed-upside-down-still-works-2024-1" rel="noopener">spacecraft landed upside-down</a>.</p> <p>Imagery from one of its rovers shows the SLIM probe landed at a peculiar angle.</p> <p class="copyright">JAXA/TAKARA TOMY/Sony Group/Doshisha University/Reuters</p> <p>Even that was a sort of redemption from a previous failure. Less than a year ago, the Japanese private company<a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/japanese-company-ispace-fears-moon-probe-crash-landed-2023-4" rel="noopener"> ispace tried and failed its own moon landing</a>.</p> <p>So many spacecraft have crashed on the moon that ispace wasn't even the first non-government enterprise to do it. In 2019, Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL also crashed a spacecraft it was trying to gently lower to the lunar surface.</p> <p>In fact, success next week would make Intuitive Machines the first commercial company to ever land on the moon.</p> <p>"Spaceflight is hard. A million things have to go right, and if one thing goes wrong, you can still have a failure," Trent Martin, vice president of space systems at Intuitive Machines, said in a NASA press briefing last month.</p> <p>"I can't say that we've solved every problem," he added, "but we certainly have looked at, as much as we can, the lessons that we've learned over the last four or five years as various missions have attempted to land on the moon."</p> <h2>Nova-C is targeting the moon's coveted south pole region</h2> <p>What's more, NASA and Intuitive Machines are aiming closer to the moon's south pole than anyone's ever gotten. The area is coveted real estate as space-faring nations race to establish permanent bases on the moon.</p> <p>An artist's illustration depicts NASA astronauts on the moon.</p> <p class="copyright">NASA via AP</p> <p>That's because <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/nasa-made-oxygen-out-of-thin-air-on-mars-2023-9" rel="noopener">astronauts could launch toward Mars</a> from the surface of the moon — if they can mine the water frozen in permanently shadowed craters around the lunar south pole.</p> <p>In theory, with that water NASA (or China or Russia) could produce fresh rocket fuel on-site. But lunar territory is first-come first-serve.</p> <p>To date, only <a target="_blank" href="https://www.businessinsider.com/india-moon-rover-to-collect-first-samples-lunar-south-pole-2023-8" rel="noopener">India has landed in the lunar south pole region</a>.</p> <div class="read-original">Read the original article on <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/nasa-intuitive-machines-moon-landing-attempt-after-astrobotic-fail-2024-2">Business Insider</a></div><!-- /wp:html -->

The Intuitive Machines Nova-C lander that’s set to fly to the moon in February.

NASA and Intuitive Machines are trying to land on the moon in February.NASA’s first attempt to return to the moon’s surface, in more than 50 years, failed last month.The new IM-1 mission is part of a multi-nation 21st-century race to the moon’s south pole.

SpaceX launches are a dime a dozen these days, but this week the company could help make history.

The Houston-based company Intuitive Machines, in collaboration with NASA, is launching its first mission to the moon atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

If Intuitive Machines succeeds, it will not only become the first commercial company in history to land on the moon, but it will also help catapult the US into the 21st-century space race.

The US has fallen behind

Despite being the first to land on the moon in 1969, NASA hasn’t returned anything to the lunar surface in the 21st century.

Unlike China, India, and Japan, the US hasn’t put anything on the lunar surface in more than 50 years.

NASA made an attempt in January, collaborating with the company Astrobotic to launch the Peregrine mission to the moon.

But the lander never made it because a faulty valve caused a fuel leak that forced them to call off the mission mid-flight.

Luckily, NASA already had its next attempt lined up.

Through a $118 million contract, the agency is sponsoring Intuitive Machines to launch its first mission, called IM-1, toward the moon early Wednesday.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The mission’s Nova-C lander should descend to the lunar surface just one week later, on February 22.

If Nova-C, which is a hexagonal cylinder about 14 feet tall and 5 feet wide, achieves touchdown, NASA will get a chance to study the lunar surface with the six science instruments it has aboard, including a laser-based navigation system and a mini radio telescope test.

With a few exceptions, this is NASA’s model for future deep-space exploration: contract commercial entities to do the hard engineering, and then hitch a ride with its science.

But this strategy has yet to put anything on the lunar surface for NASA. That could change next week, but a lot could go wrong.

The moon’s graveyard of failed spacecraft is growing

A new crater on the moon, spotted by a NASA spacecraft, which was likely created by Russia’s lunar lander crashing there.

Nailing a moon landing is extremely difficult. India only achieved the feat a few years after crashing on its first attempt, and a few days after Russia attempted and crashed.

Japan joined India in the ranks of 21st-century moon-goers in January, but its spacecraft landed upside-down.

Imagery from one of its rovers shows the SLIM probe landed at a peculiar angle.

Even that was a sort of redemption from a previous failure. Less than a year ago, the Japanese private company ispace tried and failed its own moon landing.

So many spacecraft have crashed on the moon that ispace wasn’t even the first non-government enterprise to do it. In 2019, Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL also crashed a spacecraft it was trying to gently lower to the lunar surface.

In fact, success next week would make Intuitive Machines the first commercial company to ever land on the moon.

“Spaceflight is hard. A million things have to go right, and if one thing goes wrong, you can still have a failure,” Trent Martin, vice president of space systems at Intuitive Machines, said in a NASA press briefing last month.

“I can’t say that we’ve solved every problem,” he added, “but we certainly have looked at, as much as we can, the lessons that we’ve learned over the last four or five years as various missions have attempted to land on the moon.”

Nova-C is targeting the moon’s coveted south pole region

What’s more, NASA and Intuitive Machines are aiming closer to the moon’s south pole than anyone’s ever gotten. The area is coveted real estate as space-faring nations race to establish permanent bases on the moon.

An artist’s illustration depicts NASA astronauts on the moon.

That’s because astronauts could launch toward Mars from the surface of the moon — if they can mine the water frozen in permanently shadowed craters around the lunar south pole.

In theory, with that water NASA (or China or Russia) could produce fresh rocket fuel on-site. But lunar territory is first-come first-serve.

To date, only India has landed in the lunar south pole region.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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