Private lander touches down on the moon but sending weak signal – Daily News

on Feb23
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By MARCIA DUNN | AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A private lander touched down on the moon Thursday but managed just a weak signal back, as flight controllers scrambled to gain better contact with the first U.S. spacecraft to reach the lunar surface in more than 50 years.

Despite the spotty communication, Intuitive Machines, the company that built and managed the craft, confirmed that it had landed. There was no immediate word from the company on the condition — or even the exact location — of the lander. The company ended its live webcast soon after confirming a touchdown.

Mission director Tim Crain said the team was evaluating how to refine the lone signal from the lander, named Odysseus.

“But we can confirm, without a doubt, that our equipment is on the surface of the moon,” he said.

Added Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus: “I know this was a nail-biter, but we are on the surface and we are transmitting. Welcome to the moon.”

This image provided by Intuitive Machines shows its Odysseus lunar lander over the near side of the moon following lunar orbit insertion on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. (Intuitive Machines via AP)

The landing put the U.S. back on the surface for the first time since NASA’s famed Apollo moonwalkers.

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