U.S. makes first lunar landing in over 50 years

LOS ANGELES: U.S. company Intuitive Machines' first lunar lander touched down on the moon Thursday, marking the first American spacecraft to land on the lunar surface in more than 50 years.

The uncrewed lander, named Odysseus, landed at the lunar South Pole at 6:23 p.m. Eastern Time, according to NASA.

Odysseus carries NASA science and other commercial payloads to the moon.

The spacecraft launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday last week from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission, codenamed IM-1, marks Intuitive Machines' first robotic flight to the moon's surface.

The scientific objectives of the mission include studies of plume-surface interactions, radio astronomy, and space weather interactions with the lunar surface. It will also demonstrate precision landing technologies and communication and navigation node capabilities, according to NASA.

NASA is working with several U.S. companies to deliver science and technology to the lunar surface through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative.

The last U.S. moon landing mission was made in December 1972, when Apollo 17 touched down on the lunar surface for the final mission of the Apollo Program.

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