As IM-1 Prepares for Launch, Questions Abound for CLPS

Published by on 02/08/2024 UTC

Intuitive Machines is targeting February 14th for the launch of IM-1, the first flight of its NOVA-C robotic moon lander as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. The spacecraft, christened Odysseus, aims to carry six NASA payloads to Malapert A, a crater near the lunar South Pole. The initial window lasts for three days this month, with all opportunities resulting in a landing on February 22nd; should the launch delay, the next window opens in March. The mission comes soon after the inaugural flight of the CLPS program, Astrobotic’s Peregrine Mission One, which failed to reach the lunar surface following a propellant leak shortly after launch. During a media briefing on Wednesday, January 31st, NASA and Intuitive Machines expressed optimism for the upcoming flight, amidst many questions surrounding the policy of the CLPS initiative as a whole.

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