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NASA announced Wednesday that US companies will launch for the Moon on February 14. This is less than a week after a similar mission failed with the spaceship exploding in Earth’s atmosphere.
The upcoming attempt includes a landerThe first attempt involved a lander built by Houston’s Intuitive Machines and fixed to the top a SpaceX rocket. The second was a United Launch Alliance rocket with an Astrobotics lander.
But the stakes stay just as high. lunar surfaceThe first private sector launch since the Apollo era ended five decades ago.
SpaceX plans to launch from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at 12:57am (0557 GMT), and Intuitive Machines Nova-C is expected to land on Earth on February 22nd, at an hour. Impact craterNear the south pole of the moon
NASA paid Intuitive Machines over $100 million for its scientific hardware to be shipped on the mission. This was part of a larger strategy to stimulate an economy on the moon and delegate routine cargo to the private sector.
The “Nova-C”, or Lunar Lander, is carrying instruments that will help NASA better understand the lunar atmosphere as it prepares to send astronauts back to the celestial bodies under the Artemis program in the next decade.
The cargo also includes sculptures by Jeff Koons, as well as more colorful cargo.
Only five countries have achieved soft landings on moon. The Soviet Union was the first to land on the moon, followed by the United States. China has achieved this feat three times over the last decade, followed by India and Japan.
The solar panels of the Japanese lander were twisted when it landed on January 20, causing it to be on its side.
Astrobotic’s failure is the third failed attempt by a non-government mission after an Israeli nonprofit and a Japanese company both crashed-landed in 2019.
The moon’s terrain is treacherous and there is no atmosphere. This means that parachutes can’t be used and spaceships must use their thrusters to achieve an even descent.
© 2024 AFP
Valentine’s Day, 2024, will be the launch date for the next US moon mission
Retrieved 8 February 2024
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Original content by phys.org: “US to launch the next moon mission on Valentine’s Day”
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