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Odysseus Powers Down

Intuitive Machines' Odysseus lander, the first-ever commercial spacecraft to land on the moon, stopped transmitting yesterday, several days earlier than intended. The historic mission returned US spacecraft to the moon after a 50-year hiatus but likely did not meet some goals after it tipped onto its side while landing near the lunar south pole last week.

Analysts believe a leg of the hexagonal, 14-foot-tall lander snagged the surface and tipped while approaching diagonally, tilting its antennas and solar arrays in the wrong direction. The craft was reportedly able to deliver some scientific data payloads in addition to an image of itself during descent. Results from several of NASA's instruments aboard the craft remain unknown, and an ejectable camera had not yet been deployed at this writing.

The mission is just one in a series of NASA-funded commercial lunar projects (see list) by private companies scheduled as preparation for the Artemis mission to return humans to the moon. 

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