Shortly after midnight tonight (00h30 on Friday 23 February), a robotic lunar lander operated by a private company is schedule to land on the Moon.

Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus spacecraft will not only be the first private spacecraft to make a soft landing on the Moon, but also the first American mission to arrive there since Apollo 17 in 1972.

The scheduled touchdown time is 17h30 Eastern time, and the event will be livestreamed by NASA


Intuitive Machines aims to create a commercial lunar economy, delivering commercial and NASA payloads that will pave the way for sustainable human lunar missions.

The company’s IM-1 mission Nova-C class lunar lander launched on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and successfully commissioned in space by establishing a stable attitude, solar charging, and radio communications contact with Intuitive Machines’ mission operations centre in Houston.

The mission is the company’s first attempted lunar landing as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, a key part of NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration efforts.

The science and technology payloads sent to the Moon’s surface as part of CLPS intend to lay the foundation for human missions and a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.

“We are keenly aware of the immense challenges that lie ahead,” says Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus. “However, it is precisely in facing these challenges head-on that we recognise the magnitude of the opportunity before us: to softly return the US to the surface of the Moon for the first time in 52 years.”

On the company’s website, Altemus states: “We’ve made every effort to take the complexity and cost out of getting to the Moon.

“Our full service, from the lander to rideshare, to the processing facility, to the ground support systems, has been designed to integrate your payload and provide Lunar Access Services as smooth and affordable as possible.

“Our services include a dedicated launch vehicle, deployment in cislunar space, short transit times to the lunar surface (typically six days), and a precision landing capability to ensure you land when and where you want.”