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Odysseus Lands on the Moon - first landing since 1972

The Odysseus lander has successfully touched down after a "nail-biting" descent saw the first ever privately owned craft reach the moon's surface.

The Intuitive Machines' lander is also the first US lander to successfully reach the moon in more than 50 years - since the last of NASA's Apollo programme in 1972.

Amid celebrations of what Nasa hailed “a giant leap forward”, there was no immediate confirmation of the status or condition of the lander, other than it had reached its planned landing site at crater Malapert A.

But later Intuitive Machines, the Texas-based company that built the first commercial craft to land on the moon, said the craft was “upright and starting to send data”.

The statement on X said mission managers were

“working to downlink the first images from the lunar surface”.

Others have tried. Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic's Peregrine lander, which launched last month, was done in by a propellant leak and ended up crashing back to Earth. The Israeli Beresheet and Japanese Hakuto-R landers both reached lunar orbit but crashed during their touchdown tries, in April 2019 and April 2023, respectively.

NASA administrator Bill Nelson described the landing as a “triumph for humanity” and a “new adventure in science, innovation and American leadership in space”.

“Today, for the first time in half a century, the US has returned to the Moon,”

Nelson said in a video posted on social media.

“Today for the first time in the history of humanity, a commercial company, an American company, launched and led the voyage up there. And today is a day that shows the power and promise of NASA’s commercial partnerships.”


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