Watch: SpaceX launches Intuitive Machines’ private lunar lander, Odysseus.

SpaceX launches Intuitive Machines’ private lunar lander, Odysseus.

SpaceX sent a robotic lunar lander to the moon on Thursday morning. The Falcon 9 rocket of the space firm launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. Odysseus, a moonlander created by Intuitive Machines, was being transported by the rocket. If the lander successfully lands on the moon, the Houston-based business will be the first private company to launch such a mission.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launched from the Kennedy Space Center on February 15 at 1:05 a.m. EST. The rocket’s first stage landed on Earth after about 7.5 minutes. The vertical landing occurred at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, adjacent to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

SpaceX said that this specific booster has completed 18 launches and landings. The space industry has successfully launched its Starlink satellites using the Falcon 9 rocket 19 times, setting a record for reuse.

Odysseus will then endeavor to touch down on the moon’s surface. The moon landing is planned in Malapert A, a shallow crater located approximately 190 miles from the moon’s south pole.

NASA is intently observing the mission because it has equipment on Odysseus and is preparing for its Artemis expedition to the moon. The program aims to create a lunar outpost with a crew of astronauts.

Odysseus’ lunar lander transports six NASA instruments and six commercial payloads for various customers on IM-1.

Commercial payloads include “Omni-Heat Infinity” insulation material from Columbia Sportswear, artworks by artist Jeff Koons, and a “secure lunar repository” storing human knowledge in case of an Earth catastrophe.

The IM1 features an Eagle Cam created by students from Emory-Riddle Aeronautical University. It will try to capture images of Odysseus landing on the moon.

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