Intuitive Machines sets Nov. 15 launch date for private moon lander on SpaceX rocket

A brand new personal moon-landing mission might launch as quickly as November.

Intuitive Machines says its moon lander may very well be prepared for liftoff as quickly as Nov. 15, pending last-minute preparation. This to date positions the corporate to be the primary personal enterprise to soundly contact down on the moon.

“Our Nova-C lander is totally constructed,” Steve Altemus, co-founder and chief government of Intuitive Machines, mentioned in an earnings name Monday (Aug 15) attended by Ars Technica. “We’ll ship a lunar lander able to go in September.”

The launch date on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, nevertheless, will depend on the busy schedule at NASA’s Kennedy House Middle, Altemus acknowledged. The prevailing window runs via Nov. 20, with a backup alternative in December.

Associated: Intuitive Machines now concentrating on moon’s south pole for delayed lunar touchdown mission

The Houston-based firm’s IM-1 mission is funded by the NASA Industrial Lunar Payload Companies (CLPS) program that goals to place science and {hardware} on the moon. CLPS is partly in assist of the larger Artemis program that goals to land astronauts on the moon’s south pole by the center of the last decade, on the earliest.

NASA requested earlier this 12 months to maneuver the touchdown location for IM-1 to the moon’s south pole, as an alternative of a extra equatorial area, to place it consistent with the touchdown zone for Artemis 3 that’s deliberate for no sooner than 2025. IM-1’s launch was delayed by a number of months because of the choice. However for the time being, no different personal mission has but touched down on the moon.

Associated tales:

— What’s Intuitive Machines and the way is it aiming for the moon?

—  Intuitive Machines now concentrating on moon’s south pole for delayed lunar touchdown mission

—  Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft sees the moon for 1st time in gorgeous video

The personal Japanese Hakuto-R mission by ispace apparently crashed throughout an tried touchdown in April. One other moon-landing effort utilizing Israel’s Beresheet lander by SpaceIL additionally failed in 2019 throughout that nation’s debut lunar floor try.

One other U.S. firm funded by CLPS, Astrobotic, has its Peregrine touchdown mission on maintain following delays with the brand new United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket set to launch it. Centaur might now fly in late 2023 with Peregrine, on the earliest.

Different touchdown missions are within the works with CLPS as properly, however Peregrine and IM-1 seem closest to launch given current bulletins.

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