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    US Company’s Lunar Lander Rockets Toward the Moon for a Touchdown Attempt Next Week

    US Company’s Lunar Lander Rockets Toward the Moon for a Touchdown Attempt Next Week

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Another private U.S. company took a shot at the moon Thursday, launching a month after a rival's lunar lander missed its mark and came crashing back.

    , the main sponsor with experiments on board, is hoping for a successful moon landing next week as it seeks to jumpstart the lunar economy ahead of astronaut missions.

    SpaceX's Falcon rocket blasted off in the middle of the night from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, dispatching Intuitive Machines' lunar lander on its way to the moon, 230,000 miles (370,000 kilometers) away. The lander resembled a stunning six-pointed star jewel — each point a leg — as it successfully separated from the upper stage and drifted off into the black void with the blue Earth far below.

    If all goes well, a touchdown attempt would occur Feb. 22, after a day in lunar orbit.

    Only five countries — the U.S., Russia, , and — have scored a lunar landing and no private business has yet done so. The U.S. has not returned to the moon's surface since the Apollo program ended more than five decades ago.

    “There have been a lot of sleepless nights getting ready for this,” Intuitive Machines' co-founder and chief executive Steve Altemus said before the flight.

    The Houston-based company aims to put its 14-foot (4.3-meter) tall, six-legged lander down just 186 miles (300 kilometers) shy of the moon's south pole, equivalent to landing within Antarctica on Earth….

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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