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Employees' incredible reaction as Odysseus becomes first US spacecraft to land on moon in over 50 years
Featured Image Credit: X/billnelson

Employees' incredible reaction as Odysseus becomes first US spacecraft to land on moon in over 50 years

The US made a successful return to the moon after 50 years

Odysseus, an uncrewed spacecraft, has successfully landed on the moon.

This is the first time a US spacecraft has successfully touched down on the moon since the Apollo 17 landing back in December 1972.

On Thursday (February 22), the six-legged unmanned robot landed at 6:24pm ET at a crater called Malapert A, near the lunar south pole, having slowed down from 6,500 kph (4,000 mph).

Many anxiously tuned in to NASA TV as Odysseus, which was built by Houston-based Intuitive Machines with funding from NASA, softly hit the surface after circling the moon around 57 miles above the surface.

In a video shared by NASA, the employees of the Scorpius Space Launch Company (SSLC) and their families are seen watching the landing from Torrance, California.

The spacecraft used next-generation fuel tanks from SSLC for the mission.

After hearing news of the touchdown, the employees are seen cheering and clapping with excitement.

"Houston, Odysseus has found its new home," said mission director Dr Tim Crain shortly after confirmation of the signal.

Employees were seen cheering after hearing the news.

"I know this was a nail-biter, but we are on the on the surface, and we are transmitting," Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus said. "Welcome to the moon."

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson was quick to congratulate those involved in the mission.

"Today, for the first time in more than a half century, the U.S has returned to the moon," he said.

"Today, for the first time in the history of humanity, a commercial company, an American company, launched and led the voyage up there.

"And today is a day that shows the power and promise of NASA's commercial partnerships."

Nelson concluded: "What a triumph! ... This feat is a giant leap forward for all of humanity."

The White House's official X account wrote: "Go Odysseus! We’re over the moon about the U.S.’ first lunar landing since 1972!

"Congrats to @Int_Machines and @NASA's CLPS!

"As @POTUS says, 'With science, hope, and vision, there's not a damn thing we can't do as a country'.

"Welcome to the moon."

Odysseus made the journey to space on February 15.
AFP/Getty images

Odysseus will now work to collect data on space weather interactions to the moon's surface, radio astronomy and explore aspects of the lunar environment.

Odysseus, 'Odie' for short, made the journey to space on February 15 from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre and was launched by SpaceX Falcon 9, a company owned by Elon Musk.

"Godspeed, Odysseus. Now let's go make history," said Trent Martin, Vice President of Space Systems for Intuitive Machines.

"There have been a lot of sleepless nights getting ready for this," Altemus said before take off.

Topics: NASA, News, Space, US News