Odysseus became the first American spacecraft to land on the Moon in 50 years

The Odysseus spacecraft, built by Houston-based Intuitive Machines, successfully landed on the lunar surface. This is the first time a spacecraft from a private company has landed on the lunar surface, and it is the first American vehicle to reach the Moon since the Apollo missions.

The Odyssey carries NASA instruments that the space agency says will be used to prepare for future manned missions to the Moon as part of the Artemis program. NASA confirmed the landing occurred at 6:23 pm ET on February 22. The launch from Earth took place on February 15 using a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

According to The New York Times, there were some “technical problems with the flight” that delayed the landing by a couple of hours. Intuitive Machines CTO Tim Crane told the publication:

Odysseus is definitely on the Moon and working, but it’s unclear whether the mission will be able to achieve its goals.

Odyssey has a limited window of about a week to send data back to Earth before lunar night sets in, making solar-powered operations impossible.

Intuitive Machines is not the first private company to attempt a lunar landing. A month ago, Astrobotic launched the Peregrine lander, but the mission ended in failure and the device returned to Earth.

Meanwhile, Intuitive Machines plans to launch two more lunar landers this year.