This year has not been a good one for moon landers. Not only did the last US attempt to put a lander on the moon go horribly wrong for Peregrine, but Japan’s moon sniper also encountered its own problems despite touching down on the surface. Now, Intuitive Machines has shared its plans for an upcoming IM-1 launch date, and it is set for February 14.
Valentine’s Day is notably a bit of a divisive day for a lot of reasons. But, if we can all agree on one thing this year, let’s give IM-1 as much energy as we can. The space community could really use a win right now. The lander is slated to launch between February 14 and February 16, with a total of a three-day launch window (via SpaceNews).
Whether or not the IM-1 launch date proves true, though, remains to be seen. Intuitive Machines said that the lander was ready for its journey to the moon but still needed to undergo a “wet dress rehearsal” where it would be fueling the spacecraft up on the launch pad to ensure the system is working properly.
If that rehearsal goes as planned, and the weather holds up, then the IM-1 launch date will happen within that three-day window. Any launch during that time should put the lander in position for a landing attempt on February 22, the company says. The IM-1 launch was previously delayed back in December, so the company is likely holding its breath and hoping that things work out this time around.
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IM-1, which is made up of a 675-kilogram lander called Odysseus, is currently carrying six payloads for NASA, as well as six commercial payloads that range from companies like Columbia to artists like Jeff Koons. Eaglecam will be one of the six payloads that will attempt to take pictures during the final descent.
If IM-1 is able to successfully land on the moon, it will become the first private mission to land softly on the moon’s surface. The past three attempts have failed drastically, including Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander earlier this year.
The post Intuitive Machines sets Valentine’s Day launch date for next US moon lander appeared first on BGR.