How to watch US company Intuitive Machines attempt historic Moon-landing on Friday

Private enterprise aims to successfully land its Odysseus vehicle on the lunar surface

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A US company will on Friday attempt to make the first Moon landing by a privately owned spacecraft, after three failures by other firms in previous years.

Houston-based Intuitive Machines will claim its place in the record books if its Odysseus vehicle touches down softly on the lunar surface.

The success of the IM-1 mission would also mean a giant leap for space agencies, which are looking to contract companies to send their technologies to the Moon.

Landing time

On Tuesday, the company released further details of the planned landing, with Odysseus expected to fire its thrusters and descend to the Moon's surface at 2.49am UAE time.

Live landing coverage would be hosted by Intuitive Machines on its website. The exact time of when the stream will begin is expected to be released closer to landing day.

Creating access to the Moon

Companies have been racing to send their vehicles to the Moon, with the aim of winning contracts from space agencies to send their payloads to the surface.

The UAE's Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, for example, is on the hunt for a lander that could take its Rashid 2 rover to the Moon.

But, so far, all Moon-landing attempts made since 2019 by the private sector have failed, including by Israeli and Japanese companies, and another American firm.

Nasa has a Commercial Lunar Payload Services programme that aims create access to the Moon by supporting lunar operating companies.

Intuitive Machines was contracted by the US space agency under that project to take six of its payloads to the Moon's surface, including technology tests space weather and lunar surface interactions, radio astronomy and precision landing.

Nasa also plans to launch more payloads on future flights by Intuitive Machines, including the IM-2 mission planned for later this year and a third mission.

It also had payloads on the Peregrine lunar lander built by Astrobotic.

However, the vehicle experienced a propulsion anomaly shortly after separating from the rocket, causing a fuel leak that made a soft lunar landing impossible.

Only space agencies from five countries have landed successfully on the Moon so far, namely the US, former Soviet Union, China and mostly recently India and Japan.

Updated: March 05, 2024, 10:54 AM