The “Odie” lunar mission successfully lifted off in the U.S.

Isbel Lázaro.

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misión lunar Odie

The Odie lunar mission, whose protagonist is the Odysseus lunar lander, has been launched with the aim of making a historic landing on the Moon by the United States, following in the footsteps of a previous mission that failed to achieve its goal in January.

NASA has stepped up the development of robotic spacecraft through partnerships with the private sector to examine the lunar environment and detect essential resources such as water, before planning to return humans to the Moon by the end of this decade.

Odie’s liftoff took place aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 1:05 a.m. ET yesterday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Although scheduled for Wednesday, a fuel temperature issue caused a 24-hour delay.

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Once in Earth orbit, the spacecraft reached speeds in excess of 11 km per second, as described by Intuitive Machinesthe Houston company responsible for developing the spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program contract. Odie’s trajectory has been compared to a powerful launch straight for the Moon by Stephen Altemus, CEO of Intuitive Machines.

After consuming all of its fuel, the rocket separated from Odie, allowing the lander to continue its space journey autonomously. To orient itself in space, the module used an onboard star map, orienting its solar panels towards the Sun to recharge its batteries.

Odie was developed by Intuitive Machines as part of a NASA initiative. NASA. Currently, it follows an elliptical path around the Earth, extending up to 380,000 km away. Approximately 18 hours after its launch, it would ignite its engine for the first time to advance towards the Moon.

It is anticipated that lunar gravity will gently pull Odie toward its cratered surface as it approaches. The landing attempt is scheduled for February 22, targeting a crater near the lunar south pole, a journey that is not without risk.

To date, only China, India and Japan have succeeded in soft landings on the Moon in the 21st century.

The purpose of the Odie lunar mission

Odie’s mission to the Moon serves as a reconnaissance expedition, intended to assess the lunar environment in preparation for NASA’s plan to send a manned mission through the Artemis program toward the end of 2026. The lunar south pole, a focus of interest in the renewed international space race, is believed to contain reserves of water ice, a valuable resource that could provide drinking water for astronauts or serve as rocket fuel for future space exploration missions.

Notably, aboard the lander are six NASA science and technology payloads, including a radio receiver system to study lunar plasma and other technologies that could facilitate future accurate lunar landings.

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