On February 14: The Americans Plan To Send A Spacecraft To The MoonWorld |Author: Diana Kavardzhikova | February 12, 2024, Monday // 11:21| views
American companies will attempt to send a spacecraft to the Moon on February 14th, when Valentine's Day is celebrated in many places. This comes just a month after the failure of the first private mission, reported by the AFP. The mission will be carried out by a lunar lander belonging to the company “Intuitive Machines”, based in Houston, Texas. This spacecraft will be attached to the top of a rocket booster from SpaceX.
In January, there was a previous attempt where the lunar module Astrobotic was launched using the Vulcan Centaur rocket by the United Launch Alliance, a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Despite the attempt, the spacecraft failed to reach the Moon due to fuel leakage during the flight, leading to a controlled breakup upon re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
According to the plan, the lander by Intuitive Machines, named “Nova-C” will be launched by SpaceX on February 14th at 05:57 GMT (07:57 Bulgarian time) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft is expected to arrive at the Moon on February 22nd near its south pole. If the mission by Intuitive Machines and SpaceX is successful, this will mark the first American spacecraft landing on the Moon since the end of the Apollo program over 50 years ago and the first successful landing on the lunar surface conducted by a private company.
“Nova-C” will transport scientific instruments for NASA on its way to the Moon, following a contract worth over 100 million signed between NASA and “Intuitive Machines” company. Their goal is to provide a better understanding of the lunar environment to assist the American space agency in preparing for astronauts' return to Earth's natural satellite, as planned with their “Artemis” program.
The spacecraft “Nova-C” will also carry colorful sculptures by the contemporary artist Jeff Koons. Landing on the Moon is extremely difficult due to the lack of atmosphere, which means that parachutes cannot be used, and the spacecraft must use its engines to perform a controlled descent.
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