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    Private Lander Touches Down on the Moon but Sending Weak Signal

    Private Lander Touches Down on the Moon but Sending Weak Signal

    , Fla. — A private lander touched down on the moon Thursday but managed just a weak signal back, as flight controllers scrambled to gain better contact with the first U.S. spacecraft to reach the lunar surface in more than 50 years.

    Despite the spotty communication, Intuitive Machines, the company that built and managed the craft, confirmed that it had landed. There was no immediate word from the company on the condition — or even the exact location — of the lander. The company ended its webcast soon after confirming a touchdown.

    Mission director Tim Crain said the team was evaluating how to refine the lone signal from the lander, named Odysseus.

    “But we can confirm, without a doubt, that our equipment is on the surface of the moon,” he said.

    Added Intuitive Machines Steve Altemus: “I know this was a nail-biter, but we are on the surface and we are transmitting. Welcome to the moon.”

    The landing put the U.S. back on the surface for the first time since NASA's famed Apollo moonwalkers.

    Intuitive Machines also became the first private business to pull off a lunar landing, a feat achieved by only five countries. Another company gave it a shot last month, but never made it to the moon, and the lander crashed back to Earth.

    Odysseus descended from a moon-skimming orbit and guided itself toward the surface, searching for a relatively flat spot among all the cliffs and craters near the south pole.

    Tension…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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