Intuitive Machines: Nova-C lander apparently tipped over after moon landing

The first commercial moon landing has been successful, but the condition of the lander still raises questions.

When I put it on, the device appears to have tipped over and is lying on its side. One of the legs probably got caught during the landing maneuver and the “Nova-C” lander then fell over, said the head of the responsible US company Intuitive Machines, Steve Altemus, at a press conference on Saturday night.

He was nevertheless optimistic: The batteries would be charged via solar panels, and most of the devices would be on the side of the lander facing away from the ground. “We’re collecting data,” Altemus said. The vehicle landed near the planned landing site and was stable.

The experts were now hoping for images from the “Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter” (LRO) probe of the US space agency NASA for further analysis. LRO cameras could take an image of the lander as early as the weekend, Altemus said. You can then determine the exact position and orientation of the device.

The lander, also called “Odysseus” or “Ody”, reached its destination in the southern region of the Earth’s satellite on Friday night. Initially it was said that the lander touched down upright on the lunar surface, but that was then corrected.

According to the experts’ initial assessment, the side position should not represent a significant impairment of the mission. Only a payload with an art object was attached to the side facing the ground, said Altemus. The US artist Jeff Koons sent 125 miniature stainless steel sculptures – called “Moon Phases” – to the moon.

According to Tim Crain, Chief Technology Officer of Intuitive Machines, “Odysseus” will operate on the lunar surface for around nine days. After that, the sun would no longer reach the landing site and charging the solar batteries would no longer be possible.

It is the first time in half a century that a US device has landed on the moon. “For the first time since the Apollo era, NASA’s new scientific instruments and technical demonstrations are operational on the Moon,” NASA tweeted on Saturday.

The “Nova-C” lander is about the size of an old-fashioned British telephone booth, has aluminum legs, weighs around 700 kilograms and can carry around 130 kilograms of cargo. NASA has used a large part of it with research equipment and other material, while commercial companies have secured the rest for their projects.

“Odysseus” had launched about a week earlier from the Cape Canaveral spaceport in the US state of Florida. The means of transport was a “Falcon 9” rocket from the technology billionaire’s space company SpaceX Elon Musk.

The mission is part of NASA’s “CLPS” (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program. With this program, the US space agency wants to collect as much knowledge as possible on its own way back to the moon comparatively cheaply and efficiently by awarding contracts for lunar landings to private companies and working with them.

Moon landings are considered to be technically extremely demanding and often go wrong. This year alone, two planned landings have turned out differently than hoped.



Selected leverage products on Intuitive Machines A

With knock-outs, speculative investors can participate disproportionately in price movements. Simply select the lever you want and we will show you suitable open-end products on Intuitive Machines A


Image sources: T. Schneider /