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Intuitive Machines Historic IM-1 Mission Success: American Ingenuity Never Gives Up

HOUSTON, Feb. 29, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Intuitive Machines, Inc. (Nasdaq: LUNR, LUNRW) (“Intuitive Machines”) (“Company”), a leading space exploration, infrastructure, and services company, today announced the completion of science and data transmission for all NASA and commercial payloads onboard Odysseus, the Nova-C class lunar lander, after the successful February 22 soft landing on the south pole region of the Moon.

Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus said, “Spaceflight’s unique challenges are conquered on Earth but mastered in space. Our now proven robust lunar program, a national asset, feeds directly into our second and third missions. This success drives our relentless pursuit of performance excellence to benefit the entire industry.”

Intuitive Machines achieved these marquee accomplishments in the Company’s first attempt to land on the Moon:

  • Successfully soft-landed the Company’s Nova-C class lunar lander, Odysseus, on the Moon, marking the United States’ first lunar landing in over 50 years since Apollo 17
  • Validated the performance of the Company’s proprietary liquid methane and liquid oxygen propulsion system through the first-ever deep space ignition, followed by multiple restarts, repeatedly providing successful spacecraft maneuvers
  • Became the first commercial-sector company and NASA CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) provider to successfully land and transmit scientific data to and from the Moon
  • Landed Odysseus, farther south than any vehicle in the world has ever soft-landed on the Moon, which we believe is significant given NASA’s $93B Artemis Campaign is targeting the region for human missions
  • Traveled over 600,000 miles and softly landed less than one mile from its intended Malapert A landing region
  • Transmitted over 350 megabytes of science and engineering data, which was collected across all payloads; NASA confirms mission success
  • Exceeded one of the mission objectives to operate 144 hours on the lunar surface and entered standby mode on February 29, 2024, as we await two to three weeks for the next lunar day and a potential for Odysseus’ revival
  • Fundamentally disrupted the economics of landing on the Moon through a fixed-price performance contract, demonstrating unprecedented economics and efficiency to commercial customers and NASA

Accomplishing the IM-1 mission required Intuitive Machines to integrate on a global scale. Radio astronomy dishes spread across a dozen countries, international hardware providers, and the strength of the United States domestic supply chain across more than 50 congressional districts were paramount in the IM-1 mission success.

Mr. Altemus continued, “Before this mission, we had an absolute sense of humility and relied on our technical excellence and years of experience to triumph and persevere throughout all the challenges we faced during the mission. Following our unequivocal success, I am emboldened for the future of the U.S. and international lunar economy and Intuitive Machines' future as we believe we can win, execute, and pioneer the future of the cislunar market.”

Ref: https://investors.intuitivemachines.com/news-releases/news-release-details/intuitive-machines-historic-im-1-mission-success-american1

February 29, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

[2.28.2024] NASA, Intuitive Machines give update on Odysseus moon lander mission [unedited transcript]

[2.28.2024] NASA, Intuitive Machines give update on Odysseus moon lander mission

Johnson Space Center. It's an autonomous Nova-C class lunar lander named Odysseus. The lunar lander arrived at Kennedy Space Center in Florida back in December. Since then teams have been integrating the spacecraft to Falcon 9's second stage in preparation for launch. Go IM-1 and the Odysseus lunar lander successfully lifted off from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. An incredible sight to see. Odysseus lunar lander separation confirmed.

The legacy lunar lander has successfully separated from the second stage of the launch vehicle, autonomously commissioned, and made first communications contact with NOVA Control. Our approach for landing is actually very similar to what Apollo did, which should be no surprise because the physics are pretty much the same. Let's honor this momentous milestone and prepare for the challenges and triumphs that await us on our lunar journey.

Good afternoon and welcome to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. I'm Nilufar Ramji with NASA Communications. Thanks for joining us. Intuitive Machines' lander named Odysseus carried six NASA science instruments to the South Pole region of the Moon as part of the agency's Commercial Lunar Payload Services or Eclipse Initiative and Artemis Campaign.

The IM-1 mission is the first U.S. soft landing on the Moon in more than 50 years, successfully landing on February 22nd. Joining us to provide insight on this notable mission and to answer questions, we have Steve Altemus, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Intuitive Machines, Dr. Joel Kearns, the Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration at NASA Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, Dr. Tim Crane, the Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Intuitive Machines, and finally, Dr. Sue Lederer, Project Scientist for CLPS at NASA Johnson. First, we'll start with some initial remarks from each of our briefers before opening it up for questions. We'll be taking questions in the room this afternoon and on our phone bridge. If you've joined us online today, please press *1 to add your name to the queue and ask your question. For those of you in the room, feel free to raise your hand and someone will bring you a mic.

We'll now begin with opening remarks from Steve Altemus. Steve, take it away.

Thank you, Nilufar. It's such an exciting day to be here at this time in the mission. Last time we talked, we were getting very sporadic data back in trying to understand the situation of the mission, but we've conducted a very successful mission to this point and we expect to go to the completion of the mission as planned with a little treat in store for us as we go forward beyond that over the next two and three weeks. I came over from Mission Control today and the mission director for the white team in Mission Control, Jack Fisher, conducted, gave a little speech to celebrate Odie, our lander, on the surface. And what a magnificent job that robust, plucky lander did all the way to the Moon and then on the surface to deliver back to NASA and our commercial companies so much data and information and science, testament to how robust and like someone said beastly that that little spacecraft is so we're really happy with that. Currently in the Commission Control Room Odysseus continues to generate solar power. We are projecting a time where the solar power generation will not allow Odie to continue sending down telemetry but we will put Odie to sleep and expect to, to wake, wake them up here in the next two or three weeks for a development test objective, which is actually to see if we can, when the sun illuminates the solar panel again, will we get a signal back from this lander. And so we're excited about that point. Flight controllers are analyzing all the data that's coming down. We've gotten data from all of the payloads, commercial and NASA payloads to date, and NASA will talk about those. Dr. Hsu will give you a rundown on what we've recovered, what we've gotten in terms of data on the vehicle is a tremendous amount of the guidance navigation control data, all the propulsion data, all the performance data for the vehicle that will allow us to completely reconstruct the mission and tell you all of the idiosyncrasies that went on throughout the mission, and we'll do a mission reconstruction, and then evaluation on how the performance of this mission will play itself forward to missions two and three and subsequent missions. We left, we expect that the planned mission was going to extend on the surface for 144 hours. We expect that we will, Odie will sleep after that. We left every bit of, well actually nothing left on the table, every commodity, everything was used. All the helium was used, all the methane was used, all the power was used. And so we used up every bit of every ounce of consumables we took with us and generated on the way to complete this mission. So very excited about that. What we've done in the process of this mission, though, is we've fundamentally changed the economics of landing on the Moon. And we've kicked open the door for a robust, thriving, cislunar economy in the future. That's compelling. And so I think this CLPS experiment, this first landing, this success on the Moon, first time in 52 years, is really a point in history that we should celebrate as we move forward to subsequent missions around the Moon. We could not have done this alone. This was truly an integrated global effort. And I don't think everybody was aware of that. We returned to the Moon as a commercial company, but we had multiple government agencies that we worked with. We worked with NASA, of course, and multiple departments within NASA. We worked with the FAA, the FCC. We worked with the Eastern Range, all of those to get off the ground. We then had a whole series of international partners that we used as not only our lunar data network antenna dishes on the ground but also in the supply chain. We had Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Africa, the United States dishes, and KSAT dishes, KSAT based out of Norway, in India, Singapore, Dubai, French Guiana, and Mauritius in India. The supply chain, I got to talk about a little bit from Canada, MDA and Canadensis. Sweden, AAC Clyde Space provided that impeccable power system for us on the Odysseus Lander from Spain where we got those Thalassolini radios that gave us the ranging tones for orbit determination, and the United States, we leverage countless companies and their strengths in our domestic supply chain. Everyone deserves a thank you for allowing us as Intuitive Machines to take the lead and lead the United States back to the Moon it's been a daunting journey. We were met with over 11 critical mission challenges. And it was, the only way to get through that was with the people, the people of Intuitive Machines who demonstrated resilience and perseverance and triumphed in solving the engineering challenges that were put forward in front of them the whole way through the mission, all the way up until our projected end this evening. You know, the challenges came from, people ask, you know, why was this so hard and why does it take so much effort if we've returned to the Moon after 50 years? why, and we did it 50 years ago, why is it so hard? What we had was a different kind of challenge. We were constrained in cost with a fixed price performance contract from the government. We had a schedule where we were to get this mission completed within the time it takes to get an undergraduate degree. We had a technical challenge to land softly on the South Pole region of the Moon. This over-constrained environment forced innovation, and this was our first flight of this vehicle, which had never been flown before in space, let alone been designed and developed. And this was a task that was given formally to nation states and sovereign governments, and we did it as a commercial company. We did this by building a robust lunar program that could launch and land more than one time. That is in place. The Intuitive Machines Operations Team has been practiced now like no other and can handle the challenges that are thrown for flying in space. We communicated in a way that not everybody was necessarily satisfied with. We learned in our communications. But what we tried to do was diagnose a problem and develop an approach, and then communicate what our approach was going to be and how we were going to solve it that was going to improve or mamaintain Odie's health along the way. And I think we did that. And we did that effectively. And I'm proud of the communications team for what they have done. Data flows out of mission control in a very sporadic way, whether communications are happening in rapid pace in near real time or they're delayed over the weekend because we're struggling with getting our telemetry down into these big dishes around the world. But every time we reported out the status of where we were. We've assembled the best and brightest in the company that I can imagine and trying to create a business that's a national asset for the United States and hopefully feed the lessons learned into IM-2 and IM-3 and our subsequent missions. I have a few very fascinating images for you that I can talk through now if you look up at the teleprompter. This is a picture of Odie on the surface of the Moon, touching down with its engine firing. You see here the landing gear piece is broken off there on the left of the image. The landing gear did what it was supposed to do and protect the lander as it landed on the surface. The engine plume interaction with the surface gives us this excellent view of how the ejecta, the regolith, moves away from the plume interaction. That is scientific information in that data right there. What you don't see in this picture is that we landed, our navigation system landed us with precision and landed us softly on the Moon. The shock absorbers took the load and the lander now tilted over gently and we think it's about 30 degrees and communicating all the way down to Earth. And I think Tim is going to give you an estimate of how much data we've actually brought down. There's a little image in the center of the white patch on this that's an American flag. I want to highlight that that American flag was a donation by NASA and is from 1970 in the Apollo program and it was a certified piece of flight hardware and we took that American flag and we proudly put it on Odysseus and carried it to the Moon like it should have been done 52 years ago. So I'm really proud of that. Next picture. This picture shows the fisheye lens kind of view and all of the data that's within how we're able to give you the images we have. All the data's there in this wide angle view. Next image. And here we are, how Odie conducted the brilliant six-day mission on the surface. You see the gold foil blanket is the helium tank. You see that we've, we're tilted over slightly, still more upright than we initially thought. We did land upright, we captured data, and then we tilted over slowly in about two seconds and came to rest either on the opposite helium tank or a computer shelf. And we're able to communicate, get all six payloads data back, plus all the commercial payloads, and continue to transmit as we go forward. Brilliant performance by a small lunar lander and a brilliant commercial company called Intuitive Machines. Thank you, Nilufar.

Thank you, Steve. We'll now hand it over to Joel. Joel, you're up.

Hey, thank you, Nilufar. So first again, I wanna again congratulate Intuitive Machines for this mission of many firsts. We mentioned many of them on Friday, but I want to talk again about the fact that this is the first time in the 21st century that an organization, the United States, has landed equipment on the surface of the Moon and we're getting data back from that equipment, engineering and science data. It's an exciting time to be on day six of this new era in the 21st century. Now a soft touchdown on the Moon is a great accomplishment. This morning in response to a question our administrator of NASA, Senator Bill Nelson, in response to a question about does NASA consider this mission to be successful said yes, this mission is a pathfinder, you can think of it as a flight test, a first step to get back to the Moon, a pathfinder both for the more complicated and sophisticated robotic science landing missions that will occur in the future and a pathfinder to get data for taking our human explorers back to the Moon and two places on the Moon that humans have never been before under Artemis. This also provides evidence for the first time that the commercial lunar payload services model, that is that NASA could go out and purchase as a service, taking equipment to the surface of the Moon and getting data back from the surface of the moon can work. And it's the first time that we now have that evidence. It's also a soft-landing at a extreme lower latitude on the Moon, 80 degrees south near the South Pole region. And I want to point out why this is so different, because as others have said, we get questions periodically that since Americans didn't land on the moon in the 1960s, and we haven't been back in a long time until setting on this new road of getting science and technology on the Moon, why is it really that difficult? And I want to remind folks that, and again, what you have to do to get down to the surface of the Moon since there's no air on the Moon, is in effect you have to ride a rocket all the way from the fast speed of being up in orbit, all the way to practically no speed at a predetermined point on the surface at a predetermined elevation that you're trying to get to. And in effect, you have to bring down with you on the rocket all the fuel you need to slow down. So this is a very, very complex undertaking. And when we established the first set of CLPS landings, the first initial ones, internally at NASA, we discussed that the major goal was to soft-land and get some amount of data back from our scientific and engineering investigations. And we can clearly see that we did get our cargo to the surface of the Moon and we have gotten data back as Project Scientist, Susan Lederer, we'll talk about in a few minutes. There's also a lot of learning that comes out of this attempt. First flight of this new type of vehicle, Nova-C, much of which Steve Altemus has already touched on in his introduction, but also a lot of learning about orbit determination and use of commercial communication systems around the world. And I would like to point out that there were a number of organizations, as Steve said, that Intuitive Machines reached out to, to get either assistance or advice or information during the mission. We talked last Friday about Intuitive Machines use of the onboard payload, the navigation Doppler radar from NASA's Langley Research Center, but also there was close coordination and data from the payload Lunar Node-1 from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. There was a lot of support when requested from our Space Communications and Navigation Program at NASA, in particular our Deep Space Network administered by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. And also you will notice in the news that our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a NASA imaging spacecraft, we did photograph the touchdown location of Odysseus on the lunar surface, and that required a lot of work by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Project at Goddard Space Flight Center, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Project, Principal Investigator located at Arizona State University, and others. Many of those elements together, although mostly you're hearing about CLPS with this mission, LRO, the scientific instruments we provided, and CLPS overall, as part of NASA's Lunar Science Program or the Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program. Again, this was a pathfinder mission. There's gonna be a lot of learning that comes out of it when the mission is concluded, both for the company whose mission this is, Intuitive Machines, and also for NASA as we look back how we operated during this mission. And now we're looking forward to the future CLPS landings coming up for Intuitive Machines. That'll be Intuitive Machines Mission 1, will the take to the surface of the Moon, again to the South Pole, NASA drilling and chemical composition determination equipment for our Space Technology Mission Directorate. And I'll turn it back to you, Nilufar.

Thank you so much. Next up we have Tim, over to you.

Thanks, Nilufar. Some appreciations that I would be remiss if I didn't offer up, first and foremost, as Steve said, our people, the amazing team of mechanics at Intuitive Machines. It is an excellent team, but it's also very efficient. We could not have done it without all of them. Every person was essential. And then behind them stands a network of family and friends who have sacrificed over the last couple of weeks to support us through some long hours and through some very exciting times on orbit. I would say NASA, not only for the moral and great technical support, Joel, that we've gotten in mission from DSN and from some of the payloads, but also for the vision going back for programs like Morpheus and ALHAT, which established the technology that was the foundation and the concepts that we wove into Odysseus as a lander. SpaceX was a great partner, working a very complex problem of fueling a cryogenic payload at the Cape. Our commercial payload customers for having faith in us, this is something that had not been done before. And they believed in us to see that we could pull this off. And then our LTN partners, we had people on the phone listening with the most delicate instruments from Cornwall, from Kentucky, New South Wales, Okinawa, Bangalore, Karoo, Hartebeesthoek, among others. And really felt like we were part of a global team as we found a way to reestablish science and data communications with Odysseus on the surface of the Moon. There were a number of firsts on this mission. We're particularly proud of our cryogenic propulsion system. This was the first time again that a cryogenic payload has been fueled on the pad, the first time a flight of a composite overwrapped linerless cryogenic tank has been attempted and succeeded, the first time a Methalox engine has been fired in deep space, fired repeatedly in deep space. We enjoyed the fact that we set the record for length of an engine firing with our lunar orbit insertion and then broke it the next day with our power descent. So that was a good company to be in, we thought, it's a deeply throttling engine. We used thermodynamic venting systems for cryogenic cooling, inline processing of optical imagery which enabled us to land safely. And then we collected a ton of multipath data from the lunar South Pole region using our multiple antennas and radios. There are four things that we could not test before launch. We tested every system in part and in whole where we could. There were four things we could not test and that this flight was going to validate for us. We could not test a fully loaded liquid oxygen/liquid methane vehicle through launch loads and vibes. No such facilities exist. You have to do the analysis and you have to launch to see if your design holds. It does. You cannot test the free flight control of a main engine in one G, one Earth gravity. You have to do that in space. And we did that with our commissioning maneuver and our trajectory correction maneuver. We could not test our lunar telecommunications network with our radios at lunar distance. We simulated it, we emulated it, we had to actually go into space through the final test. And then we could not test our camera performance at the Moon unless we were there. These were the four critical challenge as chief technology officer that I knew we had to overcome and we had to demonstrate proficiency in. And I'm proud to report that we have checked all of these off and we have a strong foundation for Intuitive Machines Mission 2, which will be coming up later this year. What does the future hold? Number one, more cameras. The message is loud and clear, we need more cameras. We have that in the works, so more great imagery from the moon. IM-2 and IM-3, we have a commercial mission called IM-C-1 in the works. We're working on a larger lander called Nova-D, and we're working on our own communication satellites around the moon to enable business for ourselves and for other lunar explorers. I would like to talk a little bit about the Ops dynamic, just to give you a little bit of insight into the room. It changed after we landed. Prior to landing, we had three shifts and a team four who were very focused on the flight dynamics and control of the vehicle. Eyes were very much on the monitors and the consoles in front of you. Once we landed, we moved into how do we maximize the value of this asset for ourselves and for our customers? And the Ops Center became a swarm of activity. Just yesterday morning, we were in our high data pass over parks in Australia. We had three mission directors in Nova Control. One was focusing on pulling data down and managing the power and health systems of Odysseus. The other was working on bringing the SCALPSS payload online so we could extract data from that payload. And Sue will talk more about that. And then the third, myself, we're working on getting the EagleCam up and ready for ejection. So it really was an all hands on deck. Let's maximize the time we have available on this asset while we can. And I think we've done an incredibly effective job. And as of the time I came into this briefing, we had brought down over 350 megabytes of science and engineering data on this mission. Nilufar?

Thank you, Tim, and thanks for sharing that wonderful data point. Sue, it's your turn, you're up.

I feel like I get the most exciting part of it, though I'm sure that IM won't agree with me. But I've been working with all of the NASA payloads for the last three years. I've had the absolute privilege to work with amazing groups of people who have really stepped up to the task as we've really encountered challenges in using these NASA payloads. But we've all worked together as a team. To my CLPS operating team, everybody really stepped up and helped a lot. So teams, collaboration, people, this is really what it's about. And so I want to make sure that the teams themselves all feel really good about everything that they've done for us. So the data that we've collected has come in a number of phases. During transit, we were able to operate all of our powered payloads on transit. On descent and landing, our navigation Doppler LIDAR and DL was able to collect data that will help us to land safely in the future. And on the surface, the three payloads that were planned to operate on the surface have all been able to collect data. So I just wanna take a little bit of time to go through each of the payloads to try to really help you to understand what we've been working on. LN1 is a navigation and communication beacon that transmits radio signals back down to the earth. They were able to complete four passes with Goldstone and Madrid and two more passes to the Madrid ground station on the surface. So we mentioned earlier that LN1 has really stepped up to the task when IM came to us and said, hey, we really could use some help with navigation information. So I was in the car on the way home after pulling a triple shift. Sorry, Joel. And calling the LN1 PL and I said, hey Evan, is there a way that we can get your help with the navigation and working with the DSN? And he so calmly and coolly said, we're a navigation beacon, we're here to help you navigate. And that's what they did. So very proud of that team. ROLS is the next one and this is the radio wave observations at the lunar surface of the photoelectron density sheath. They have four antennas that were planned to be deployed on the surface. And Odie had a little surprise for us on the way, with a little bit of help from the sun, creating a little bit more heat than we expected for the frangible. We did pop one of the antennas as we were in transit. And we took that as a sign that we were ready to start collecting science data. And why not take that opportunity? So while we had not planned to operate ROLS at all in transit, we were able to get not only checkout data, but a fair bit of science data with that antenna that we hadn't planned. So a little bit of bonus science. Thank you for that. So we're very happy about that. The remaining antennas were deployed on the surface, and we were also able to collect science data with those antennas deployed as was expected for that payload. Just a couple of notes from the ROLS team that they have just started downloading this data in the last few days and already they can tell us that they have detected frequencies of radio noise from the Earth, but the indication is that the lower frequency data, Earth is a lot more quiet than they expected, below 15 megahertz, but at the higher frequency, the Earth is definitely shouting out a bit. So, and their observations are also consistent with the radio quiet sun. So they're already collecting and really analyzing this data, and we have now downloaded additional data that we've collected just as we were getting ready for this brief. So we have all the rules as data down. SCALPSS is the Stereo Cameras for Lunar Plume Surface Studies. And their goal was to detect the plumes being ejected and creating surface plumes or surface interaction plumes with the engine on the way down. We unfortunately had some hardware problems that did not allow the SCALPSS instrument to operate during descent. However, one of the SCALPSS team members, shout out to them, came up with an idea to potentially do some troubleshooting. And just two days ago, with very little sleep for all of us, the IM team was able to work with us very collaboratively in figuring out how to change how we were collecting data with the SCALPSS instrument so that we were able to operate SCALPSS from the surface of the moon just this morning. So a lot of people working a lot of hours and a shout out to the SCALPSS team for all their dedication in helping us and helping IM to figure out a way to get SCALPSS to work. NDL is the Navigation Doppler Lidar. It's for precise velocity and range sensing. We've talked about NDL and what they've been able to do. They are designed to help safely navigate a vehicle to the surface. All of the NDL data has now been received. And NDL reports that their instrument has worked far better than they expected. So we're very excited to see the final data outcomes from NDL. RFMG is a radio frequency mass gauge. They were able to collect data while we were tanking on the surface here on the Earth before we launched, as well as SO loading those propellants on the launch pad, also during coast in the zero gravity of environment of space that this allows us to do. It's very hard to do that if you don't have gravity pulling down your propellant, as well as during descent to the surface of th Moon, as well as in lunar orbit. So we collect a lot of data with RFMG. This is the first time that RFMG has been integrated into a propulsion system. Their results are really going to help us with guiding the future improvements of technology and integration for future Artemis missions, both to the Moon and hopefully to Mars as well. And then finally, the LRA is the Laser Retroreflector Array, and we've been doing some talking back and forth over the last six days to figure out whether or not it was possible to range to the retroreflector and hearing from the PL of LRA, we do believe that the NASA LRO is going to be able to use their Lola laser altimeter to range to LRA. So we will be working on that in the coming months and very excited to have a location marker on the moon at 80 degrees south so that this is going to be great for navigation in the future. So I know that Joel said that we've had six days and I would actually say that we've had 13 amazing days. So we are at lucky number 13. In the first few days we struggled to get communications, but the perseverance of the IM team just not willing to give up, working with us, and as Steve noted, as soon as we landed and we started getting into what are we going to do and how do we do this, their team pulled us. They came down to our NASA backroom and said, we need to work this. Come work with us and pull us all into mission control. So we were collaboratively working together to find solutions so that the spacecraft could live, the payloads could get their data. And instead of ending up with a few bytes of data, which was the baseline goal for us, we've gotten over 50 megabytes of data, which we went from basically a cocktail straw of data coming back to a boba tea size straw of data coming back. So we're all very excited now that we've gotten a lot of data back from the surface of the moon. So again, a shout out to the collaboration of the teamwork from the payloads from the CLPS operations team. From DSM, from IM, we've all worked together. It's the people that really make a difference and make sure that we go from how do we overcome challenges to how do we have this incredible success. And that's where we're at today is with incredible successes for all of our payloads. Back to you, Nilufar.

Thank you so much. And thank you for all of our briefers for their comments today.

What we'll do right now is open it up for questions. So for those of you in the room, just raise your hand and we'll bring a mic over to you. And if you're on the phone bridge, please dial *1 to get your name in the queue to submit a question. Once your name is called, please state your name and your affiliation and to whom you'd like to direct your question. If you find that your question's already been answered, please press *2 to withdraw it.

Let's kick it off with Gina Sunseri.

I'm gonna start with Steve.

You said 11 points were kind of do or die. Could you TikTok for me what those 11 points were?

Yeah, I'll defer that. I have that. I'll defer that to Tim, who's got the technical background to talk of those in a little more detail.

Yeah, there were a number of things we had to overcome. And some of them actually, Gina, became before flight. So we had warm methane on our first day of flight. And we had to work with SpaceX to adjust that and get ready to go for the second day. And so we overcame that. I think we published the Star Tracker issue, which was we had too tight of a tolerance check on a numerical condition for the measurements coming out of the Star Tracker. That prevented our vehicle from staging all the way to a sun pointing power positive. So we had to patch the interface with the Star Tracker to fix that. If we don't fix that, the mission ends very quickly but the team was very effective on that. Another one that probably ticks off a few of those, we discovered in our commissioning maneuver that we had a drift in the yaw channel of our main engine control. So, if you'll hand me micro Odie, during a main engine burn, the way we steer the vehicles, we actually gimbal the motor. And so you turn it one way and it helps provide control in these two axes. We were drifting to one side during the commissioning maneuver, and then we saw it again in TCM-1. So what we had to do to troubleshoot that was to come up with scenarios where engine geometry understanding and control would lead us into that drift. We knew we could do the small burns, but it was not gonna be sufficient for the longer burns of LOI and power descent. So we did a couple of troubleshooting steps there. One was we moved the CG estimate on the vehicle around, which we suspected wasn't really the case, but it mimicked the signature we were seeing. And then we did a patch to our engine geometry, which was what we call an I-load set or parameters that the software reads kind of from a flat file. We updated our I-loads to redefine the engine geometry because we began to understand that under full thrust load the geometry of our actuators was slightly different. And so we're able to patch that, and that led us to the successful LOI and the successful power descent. I will tell you that on the day of landing, when we watched the pointing control come across the consoles, it really looked like a video game. It was so good. I had never in any of our simulations seen the engine perform as well as it was after we had tuned it up through those burns. But if we hadn't done that then we would not have been able to land on the Moon. So those were some big steps for us. We published a few things about learning how to chill our engine in. We do have a cryogenic engine. We have to chill the metal of the engine itself before we can fire the engine. Our first commissioning maneuver, we didn't get it right on the methane side and we had to try again and we fired successfully, but not on time for the commissioning maneuver. We came back and reloaded for our first correction mover TCM-1, and we missed the other side, the oxygen side, I may have it backwards. We missed oxygen on the first one, missed methane on the second one, and we had to reload, and a couple hours later, we came back and we dialed that in. From that burn on though, we had it perfected, and the next five burns, the process that we tuned once we were in orbit, we hit all five burns exactly on time with ignition. If I get to the Moon and I miss LOI by even a minute, we don't land on the Moon. It's very, very precise. So that was another one we overcame. We did end up in a lower orbit after LOI than we'd anticipated. Our perilune was low. And fortunately, our flight dynamics engineers had preloaded the ability to do a lunar correction maneuver and we were able to push that up and move our orbit from our planned lunar orbit, which would be 100 kilometers circular, basically into something very close to our descent orbit. So effectively, we had the agility in our control room to move deorbit insertion from orbit 12 to orbit 3, something like that. What else do I have on my list? Oh, we discovered that the laser range finders weren't working. Again, it was an interface issue, and we've talked a little bit about that. You know, there's a pin in the cable that's a safety feature that once you put it on, you can't see if that pin's in place or not. And it's a type four laser, so we didn't test it once we got to the Cape, clearly something we can fix and rectify in testing on the next time through. And nonetheless, the vehicle performed just with our optical navigation system above expectations and allowed us to land safely. And then there were a number of other things that probably don't rise to the same level. And a lot of these things were crises anticipated, identified, and resolved before they impacted the mission. And so the team was excellent in saying, OK, if this is the challenge we're faced with, this is the resolution and how do we marshal our resources in that control room and with our backup team four to make sure they did not impact our ability to land safely.

Thank you so much.

We have another question in the room that we're going to take.

Hi, Eric Burr with Ars Technica. First question is for Steve or Tim. Can you describe how the lander came to be gently landing on Moon? I guess it's only about 30% tipped over. Do you think it's leaning against a rock or something's holding it up? And then Joel, I'm interested in your assessment of the mission in terms of the objectives NASA hope[s] to see from the soft landing to getting all the data back. Was this like 100% mission success from the Eclipse program's perspective, or how would you sort of grade it?

So with respect to piecing together what happened at landing, we received telemetry. If you remember, on the evening of landing, we had no communication signal and then a weak signal. And in our consoles, the data was up to a point and then frozen until that communication was restored. So we had an indication that we had landed and we were upright with that stale data. And when we came back and looked at it, when we restored the communications, we noticed that we were getting the IMU telling us we have C gravity more in the z direction than in the x direction. Well then we did a reconstruction where we actually calculated based [on] the trajectory, and the flight dynamics guys calculated that we actually came down just short of our landing site at a higher elevation than where our landing site was going to be, about a 1.5 kilometer difference between the ellipse of uncertainty for our landing and where we touched down. That elevation was higher, so we came in with more downward velocity and we came more, with more horizontal velocity. And so we hit harder and sort of skidded along the way and we see that disruption in the regolith from the LRO data that we've been able to get from LRO and ASU. And that discoloration says that we came down with the engine firing because the automated flight manager had not moded to where it was trying to sense and shut down the engine. We saw a spike when we touched down in the engine combustion chamber that was like if you shut off the full thrust by landing on the surface. So we know the engine belt contacted the surface. The landing gear took the bulk of the load and we broke one or two possibly landing gear. And so we sat there upright with the engine firing for a period of time. And then as it wound down, the vehicle just gently tipped over. And in our simulation with 1-6 gravity, we showed that it took about two seconds. And we landed on a 12-degree slope. And then that 12-degree slope compounded with the helium tank underneath or a radio shelf would put us at an angle that's approximately 30 degrees off the surface. And we have that photo now to confirm that's the orientation. We also know the roll orientation, when we were gonna set the high gain antenna towards Earth and the solar arrays for the Sun, we know that roll worked, but we know when we landed, the top deck solar array was shadowed and we weren't generating power with the top deck solar array so we got that orientation right. So those were all the parameters that had to unfold over time to get us a good understanding of where we came. And then just today, we have this picture of us leaning gently on the surface. If we can pull the picture up. Oh, great. You're in my mind. Um, the LRO image, if you look at it, there's a large crater not far from where we landed. If you look in the middle of the picture, you see there's kind of a dark band. That is that crater. And so the beginning of that dark band is, is the shadow into that what Mark Robinson from ASU tells me is probably a 2 billion year old crater. And the first edge of that darkness is about 500 meters from where we are. And then the ridge beyond that is another 500 meters, so about a kilometer away. And then you can see kind of a light band just underneath the helium tank, which is the lunar surface on the far side of that crater. So that'll give you an idea when you look at the picture of how we're oriented. In this picture, the Sun is to the right and is moving across the sky right to left. And so it's illuminating the solar array on the other side. And you can kind of get a feel for that 30 degree. Let me see if I can get that, this right. So the camera is kind of here, and it's taking a picture down between the legs. So we're about at 30 degrees on a 12 degree slope, landing like that. And that's how we get to 30 degrees. Earth is off in this direction, and so our antennas are in an off-nominal configuration. The reason some of this data took awhile for us to get to is we had to really work with our in-network lunar telemetry partners, and then also with DSN to figure out what this strange environment was. Absolutely our signals were bouncing off the Moon. So we were receiving both the direct path signals from our radio and the opposite polarization as well. And so we had to sort through exactly how to do that. But once we got it down, we got into a rhythm where we could monitor health and send some basic commands for about 16 hours a day. And then we'd come over Australia, and we were able to really pull down data for about eight hours at a time. And that was intense. That's where we had everybody in there. We had no dead air, just like in the radio business, there was no dead air, right? We wanted data coming down all the time. Well, I wanna fix this payload. I wanna work with SCALPSS. Great, be downloading data while you're working with SCALPSS. And so that was kind of the operation we had. I know that wasn't your question, but I just wanna talk about it, so sorry. Sorry. I can answer your question you had about how we feel about mission success. We don't have a quantitative number to give. As I said earlier, from a CLPS point of view of demonstrating the model, our goal for the first set of task orders called Task Order 2, the big goal was to land your equipment softly so you could get data from it after you land, and that was done successfully. We also identified objectives that we had for each of the science instruments, and we're assessing based on the data collected to date and how that was influenced by the landing attitude, how we did. For example, Susan Lederer mentioned that we plan to take images from SCALPSS on the way down to look at the interaction of the rocket plume with the surface. We know that we didn't do that, but we're fortunate that several of these instruments, like SCALPSS and red roses, will fly on future CLPS deliveries also. So we have an opportunity in the future to take that data on different vehicles.

Great. We will now transition over to our phone bridge to take additional questions we have and we'll kick it off with Marcia Dunn with Associated Press. Marcia?

Oh, hi. [???] does Odysseus have left, how many more hours do you anticipate? How will you know for sure that it's the end? And are any eulogies planned for when the lander falls silent? Thanks.

Well I think what we're going to do is kind of tuck Odie in for the cold night of the Moon and see if we can't wake him up here when we get the solar noon here in about three weeks. So we know through that we are degrading in power and we expect that within about, expect about five hours or so from now is when we will be at a point where we will no longer have commanding or telemetry coming down. We are going to leave the computers and the power system in a place where we can wake it up and do this development test objective to actually try to ping it with an antenna and see if we can't wake it up once it gets power again. So that's the plan. And if you recall, the whole idea of this mission was not to live as long as you could on the surface. This mission was intended as a scout and a pilot mission to go land on the surface, collect the data, and then the cold of night was going to take the lander and where it would sit there quietly for the rest of the day, rest of the time. We accomplished that. And so now extending to get additional data beyond that planned mission end and quiet power down of Odysseus. We expect that there may be another opportunity here in a couple of weeks to take a look at it again. So no eulogies planned, Marcia. Only celebration and cheering.

Thank you so much for that. Next up we have Joey Roulette from Reuters. Joey.

All right, we do not have Joey Roulette. We have Andrew in line.

Oh, there we go. Okay. Can you hear me? Sorry, sorry, I didn't know I was on mute. Question for Tim or Steve. I'm just curious what you think the chances are that you guys will be able to wake it up after that winter night, since that wasn't part of the mission goals, right? And what does that hinge on? What do you guys wanna see? And then I guess for Steve, how do you ensure that other companies are aware of the problems that you guys faced? Are you looking to share the lessons learned from this mission with Astrobotic and Firefly maybe. Thanks. Well, I can address the surviving the night. You know, the real the real limiter, the number one limiter we face is the batteries. Batteries are a chemical asset. That chemistry does not respond well to deep cold. And so if something happens to the batteries for 14 days of less than 250 degrees then we won't be able to come back up. And the batteries absolutely are not tested to that level of cold, neither as our flight computer or our radios. If we asked our vendors to tell us what the probability was of surviving the deep cold of the Moon, they would not put it in writing. And so, and well, they shouldn't. So those are the things we're worried about. Our solar arrays should handle that fine. So we're confident that when the Sun comes back up over Odysseus, that the solar arrays will energize and they'll send power. The real question is, are the batteries there to receive that power and pass it on? And then will the electronics within our computer and radio have withstood that deep cold and not basically cracked under the thermal stress? So, wouldn't put odds on it, but those are the things we're facing when the Sun comes back up on the solar array in a few weeks. Yeah, and for my comment there is, we're in a position where why not try, you know, with no odds on it. Let's see what happens and gain some data and insight that we otherwise wouldn't get if we weren't on the surface of the Moon. We've also overcome challenge after challenge after challenge we didn't know that we would be able to get past and he's a scrappy little dude. Yeah, I would not bet against Odie. I have confidence in Odie at this point. That's right. It's been incredible. As far as sharing the data with other industry vendors who are attempting to land softly on the Moon also. We certainly want to give them the insights of our learning and our experience. And I think there's a whole series of conference papers and talks and briefings on what we experienced and what we learned that are part of this historic journey that we want to share. We want to share and talk about and let people know so that we raise all boats and we all end up building this burgeoning cislunar economy.

Great, thank you so much for that. Next up we have Andrea Leinfelder with the Houston Chronicle. Andrea?

Hi, thanks for taking the questions. This is for Steve or Tim. Can you share a list of mission objectives and which of these were met and which were not? Also, can you explain a little more why you could pull more data over Australia and not at other times? And then for Sue, so all six NASA payloads received data, but what was the quality of this data? Was it, the quality affected or was it limited by the lander tipping over? Thank you.

Well, I think we had some very high level mission objectives was to touch down softly on the surface of the Moon, softly and safely, and return scientific data to our customers - the two primary objectives. And both of those objectives are met. So in our mind, this is an unqualified success. I think internally, we had objectives to really ring out the performance of this vehicle.and understand that the engineering process we went through from design to development to testing and assembly integration and integrated testing was that model in the way we did our aerospace engineering was that solid thesis and a solid model. And in fact it was because this spacecraft is such an amazing spacecraft that we did fixed price in a short amount of time that was able to perform everything we asked of it. So I think those are my top three mission objectives. Tim, any insight on others?

Yeah, with respect to why over Australia, we do have our network of dishes that range anywhere from 18 meters to 32 meters, except for the dish in Parks Australia, which is part of CSIRO. And that's the dish. They made a movie about it called The Dish. It's a 64 meter dish. Now it can only receive, but it has a very sensitive ability to detect radio signals. We were transmitting not through our high-gain antenna, we're transmitting through an omni antenna about the size of this water bottle. That's what we had to transmit. By the way, it's not pointing at Earth. The way our engineers were able to work with the engineers at Parks to pull that data down, was fantastic, but we could only do it when we were within the physical limitations of the Park's dish to go horizon to horizon. Oh, by the way, when you move a 64 meter dish, if the wind kicks up above a certain level, it stops. And so we all of a sudden became hedge meteorologists trying to predict what the winds would be like during our data passes. But I really have to give it to the team in Australia, they did a fantastic job allowing us to get this critical data down. You also posed a question about what was the quality of the NASA instrument data that came back. I'll turn that over to Susan Lederer to address, but I'll point out that part of the goals for each instrument on this initial mission were to make sure that the instrument function, that it was fed power, could pass commands into the instrument data back to the ground. You could think of that as kind of operational demonstrations. Then there would be engineering data that the instrument would take, and then finally there would be the measurements that would be taken that you could think of as being the science that comes out of the instrument. So Susan, could you say a few words about the quality of the data that you've seen?

Yeah, absolutely. And it of course depends on which payload you are working with. Some have gotten more data, some have gotten all the data that they were hoping for. Bottom line is that every payload has met some level of their objectives and we're very excited about that. Joel mentioned that we have tech demo instruments that are on board. They have now graduated to have actually been navigation instruments that I worked with. I am helping them to land safely on the surface, both LN1 in transit as well as NDL on descent. So we're very proud of our payloads. We're very excited to start pouring through the data. And in fact, on my way here, I was listening on the loops as data was being downloaded just hours before. And in fact, just before we walked into the press briefing, indicating that all the data that we've taken is now on the surface. So our payloads [engineers?] are very excited about being able to now analyze this data. So I want to give them all a chance to rest first and then we'll get into at what level have we succeeded. But everyone has succeeded at least in some of the objectives.

So I have a question for Sue and Joel. If Odie wakes up in two or three weeks, do you want to turn your sensors back on?

Absolutely. The scientists always want more data. We'll give it a try. As do the engineers. That would be great.

Great. Thank you guys so much for that. Next up we have Chris Davenport with the Washington Post. Chris?

Hey, all. I guess for Steve and Tim, I'm just curious if you could talk a little bit about that safety switch, which you, I think, said was sort of like the safety of a gun and it wasn't switched to enable. I'm just curious how, what happened there, how something so important could have been overlooked. And then for Sue, a quick follow-up on what you were just saying, on the SCALPSS instrument specifically, if it was not working during the descent, if it only started working two days ago, were you actually able to characterize the dust plume that was kicked up by the engine? If it wasn't working then? I'm just sort of curious if you are able to get a sense of how an engine will interact with the lunar surface and disturb it. If you'll actually be able to sort of perform that analysis. Thank you.

Chris, for your first question, we have a difference between the engineering development units that we use on the ground for the laser range finders and the flight units that were on the vehicle. When we tested the laser range finders on the ground, the engineering units did not have that, that safety enable switch, if you will. When we tested the flight lasers on the ground, we had ground support equipment feeding the power to those units. In those cables, there is a wire that pins into a connector that provides power to disable that safety enable and allow you to fire that laser range finder, and we did that and it worked. The flight cables, however, did not have that wire lead in them. And so there's a range safety requirement that you do not have an active laser with the potential to fire it, and you needed a limiter while you're on the launch pad getting ready to launch. And so that's why that safety enable is in that box, one for ground safety, one for range safety limits. And so there is a difference between how we test on the ground and the units we tested and the cables we used versus the cables we built for flight, and that one wire in miles and miles and miles of wiring on the vehicle and different harnesses was an oversight. And we missed it and were not able to command that disable switch on and therefore didn't have the laser range finders. And so a couple of people beat themselves up pretty bad, but the fact that we were able to land softly using optical measurements is just a breakthrough in the performance of this vehicle. Hey, if we missed a pin out of three miles of wiring and 10,000 pins and connections in the connectors, I'll take that all day long. To answer your question about SCALPSS, you are correct that because we were unable to collect data on the way down, we know that there was a hardware failure that we fixed in the serial port after we were on the surface. We also didn't trigger, in order to, even if that had been working, we didn't have the triggers that were available that were necessary to collect that data on the way down, is my understanding. And so we were not able to collect the data for the plume surface images that Scouts was to take. However, a couple of upsides is that not only were they able to meet some of their minimum success criteria, surviving launch, completing transit checkouts, they were able to do a transit checkout on the surface. And this is important for them because there is another mission, as Joel mentioned, the Firefly mission that's coming up later this year, has another version of SCALPSS. So they will be able to use that data to better plan for what to do for Firefly. And then in addition, there were certainly images that were taken by the other cameras that were on board. And just before this press conference started, we did hear from Intuitive Machines that they are absolutely happy to share those images that they collected with their cameras. We have seen some of them and we see some of the plume coming up from the surface and they are willing to and very happy to collaborate with SCALPSS to share those images so that SCALPSS can use that data to do some analysis of the plume surface interaction between the engine and the dust on the lunar surface.

Lots of real time updates we have today. Next up we have Micah Maidenberg with the Wall Street Journal.

Hey, good afternoon. Just first for Tim, how many of the 11 kind of critical moments that have been discussed could have caused a mission failure? Is that all of them? I think you said some were a little bit more serious and some were a little less serious, as I understood it. And then Steve, I'm curious, given I am one, if the mission has generated new deals or interest from commercial customers or non-NASA customers for future landings, or if not, how you're thinking about pursuing those given the mission so far.

Thanks a lot. Great question, Micah. One thing I'll say about some of these critical events that we solved going through the mission, they didn't all have the same time constant. So patching the Star Tracker was something that had a definite immediacy to it, because if we don't get that fixed, then we're going to run out of power in a matter of hours. The challenge of making sure that we had our engine start sequence was one that we had opportunities built into the mission to resolve that as we went. So if it had gone uncorrected over the course of the next four burns, then mission success was not assured. But we had opportunities built in to resolve it as we went. So the time constant on that was a little bit different. The same thing for fine tuning the engine geometry and making sure we had the steering coordinates updated for what we were actually seeing in flight. So it was kind of a mix. If any of these issues are left unresolved, they become major, but not all of them were critical in the sense of I need to solve them in the next couple of hours or we're in real trouble. With that said, this is a sprint mission to the Moon. We did the fastest transfer from launch to low Earth orbit that anyone has done since 1972.

And you definitely felt that pressure of, I only have so many days, and the clock is ticking to get myself into lunar orbit. So I wouldn't necessarily say that we breathed easier on the ones that we knew we had a little bit more time for, because they were critical. But I do want to emphasize that the time constants in these were variable. Yeah, the one thing I'll add to Tim's question, the question he just answered, is that about three days into the mission after launch, we said to ourselves, we've got the mission directors together and Team Four leaders together and said, look, we've got to get on top of this. There are things that are happening to us and we're in reactionary mode trying to make sure we save the vehicle. We've got to be looking ahead and anticipating what might happen downstream. So as we went through the mission, we got further and further ahead thinking about the possible failures and what could get us and what we had to fix in that certain timeframe. And once we did that, I think we really had ourselves in the right mindframe to succeed. And on your other question, Micah, is that we have been contacted. I think the ESA contacts that we have and representatives we have, we're very excited for our mission. And they, we've been talking to a number of European companies that are flying equipment on our mission too, and ESA expressed interest in wanting to [take] part with us in flying payloads on that mission. We've heard from several companies who wish to entertain sponsorships. So that's of interest to us. We haven't had those conversations yet other than their outreach to us. And so I just think it's the tip of the iceberg and its beginning for people to realize, wow, this was an incredible success. What are the possibilities? And I think that was the whole purpose here, was to open up space exploration to be everyone's, and so more and more people can participate, and if that's the result we get, I'm happy for it.

Great. We have quite a few questions we want to get through this afternoon. So next up we have Jeff Faust with Space News. Jeff?

Good afternoon. A question for Tim or Steve. If you had a working laser rangefinder, how would the final phases of landing potentially played out differently? Would you have been able to recognize you were approaching an area of a higher elevation and adjusted the landing appropriately so that you would touch down more softly or with the slope of the landing area have made it difficult to land anyway? And then also, we heard on Friday about the Herculean efforts you made to incorporate the NDL data into your software. Did that not help on the final phases of the landing? How did that play out? Thanks.

Yeah, great questions, Jeff. And I'll try to be brief because Nilufar's asking me to. If we would have had the laser range finders, we would have nailed the landing. We actually have a terrain map built in to the system that anticipates the terrain we're going to fly over. It is robust to variations in that terrain. We've tested it for robustness to make sure that if we're off a little bit, it doesn't throw us off and then it converges at the landing site. I'm confident if our laser range finders had been integrated in the system, we would have absolutely hit the bullseye. With respect to the NDL, what we had done, we absolutely succeeded in wiring the measurements in to the the laser range finder registers, we absolutely succeeded in remapping the geometry of the laser range finder laser beams to what the NDL laser beams were. And we did all of that in the navigation algorithm. The part we missed was there is a data valid flag that's set all the way back in the laser range finder itself. And we needed to populate that in the navigation software that we patched to basically hard code it to one, and because we missed that, the navigation algorithm said, you've got measurements, but I don't see my data valid flag that I'm expecting from the original laser range finder. So those did not process after all. So basically, we landed with our IMU and our optical navigation data flow algorithms, which were unique. It's the first time anybody's flown this algorithm. And it exceeded expectations because we lived to tell about it.

Thank you for that and thank you for your brevity. Next up, we have Adam Mann with Science News. Adam.

Hi there, I guess this is a question for Steve or Tim. Would you say that the lander has performed about what you expected or has it kind of like exceeded what you would have hoped by this point?

Well, I think we'll both answer with as brief as we can, Tim. So this lander has exceeded all my expectations of how it was going to perform. When we look at the systems today, nothing broke. The landing gear was subject to an environment that it was not designed for, a harsher landing that was outside its design limits, everything on the spacecraft worked. We had single string items, we had redundancy, dissimilar redundancy, we had all kinds of protections that we could put in place within the limits of our schedule and budget. But man, this was a very robust lander, I'm very proud of. And you know, the little bit of a wire issue here or a enable switch over there, those minor things are easily corrected. But when I think of major redesigns, we're thinking about adding cameras and adding antennas, things like that. But really a robust, I think somebody called it a beastly, beastly lander. Yeah. Scrappy little guy.

Absolutely, Odie exceeded expectations in every effort, every area. And one thing I would add to that is our operations team and what they had preloaded in for how to use this machine on its way to the Moon and how to command it and to respond to different conditions was masterful. And the vehicle responded to all of those commands. It responded to every demand we put on it well above expectations. And so it set the bar high for IM-2.

Thank you so much for that. Next up we have Leonard David with Scientific American Magazine. Leonard?

Yeah, thank you. Maybe for Steve, I love the term over-constrained lead to innovation. Maybe you could break that out a little bit. I'm curious about IM-2 as far as the launch date, what you see, and how would you gauge that particular landing area, Shackleton Ridge, compared to this? How would you gauge the difficulty for IM-2?

OK, so on the first part is, you know, there's a lot of organizations that have an innovation officer or have innovation initiatives, and I'm not quite the believer in that. What I see firsthand from this effort of trying to go to the Moon and return the United States to the Moon for the first time in 50 years is that the innovation came from being absolutely over constrained where you didn't have enough time, you didn't have enough money, and you were trying to tackle a problem that was seemed almost intractable. And so with that said, we put a culture in the company of Intuitive Machines that there is no giving up. There's only perseverance and there's only losing if you give up. And so find a way around it. If you can't test it one way, you have to test it another way. You can't have an unlimited budget. And knowing those constraints, you have to run lean and with agility and innovative ideas come out in the form of all kinds of inventions and techniques, just like how we produce this one of a kind, brilliant LOX methane injector for our main engine. We were able to get to a process where we produced a power head for the engine and injector every 10 days and then test it on the stand. We 3D printed it in five days, post-processed it in the machine shop, get it on the mobile test stand and fire it and characterize it in 10-day increments. We were able to build 40 injectors in the period of time that we needed to build that engine and make it fly. And you know what? It flew perfectly. So that's an example. And I think there's a whole case study to be done on how we've done this lean, agile development that could be quite disruptive to aerospace in the way we've set the bar for a new price point for going to the moon and opening up the cislunar economy. The other one for mission two, I have so much more confidence knowing that the flight control, the propulsion system, and in fact, these algorithms, navigation algorithms that Tim talked to can put us down in an area of craters and shadows, and they can put us down with precision. And that precision is what's needed if we're ever going to get to the South Pole. The fact that we had this trial run to the South Pole region and we did it, and we did it without a laser altimeter, only gives me confidence that when we put those laser altimeters in, we're going to stick that landing.

Thank you so much. Christine Fisher with CNN. Christine?

Thanks, guys. And congratulations, everyone. Steve, two questions for you. First, can we get a quick update on EagleCam? And number two, when I interviewed you before launch, we talked about the competition with China. And you said, you know, I don't think that all competition is bad. I'm curious how you view this moment in the context of that competition, given that you've just landed a spacecraft in the same area where both NASA and China have stated plans to build a lunar base. Thanks.

Well, number one, with respect to EagleCam, what an amazing team of faculty and students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, who put their heart and soul into an ejectable camera that would come off of our Nova Sea or Odysseus lander and eject to the surface. Unfortunately, we couldn't get to that with the power descent the way it happened. And so this morning, I think it was this morning, as we went to each payload to try to reactivate them, we were able to reactivate the EagleCam. We reset the vision processor unit, powered up the EagleCam, and were able to eject it. And it ejected about four meters away from the vehicle safely. However, either in the camera or in the wifi signal back to the lander, something might not be working correctly. And so the Embry-Riddle team is working on that and wrestling with that to see if there's anything they can do. I think it's a wild success. I would love to fly the EagleCam again. Those students put their heart into it and it's a really innovative design. And if we can get a picture of a landing, I'd love to give it to them. So we'll see what happens going forward with that. With respect to competition and the geopolitical environment, it's good to be first and it's good to be on the surface in the South Pole region. And I think... what it is, is all competition is not bad. A competition in a fact when you can go put your resources to bear and you can go try and step in the arena and try to succeed at something that's very difficult and then come out of that feeling the triumph and achievement of success, that's winning and that's what the United States is all about.

Thank you for that. Rich Trebeau with the Orlando Sentinel. Rich.

Actually, I was going to ask about EagleCam as well, but Stephen, would you say you'd be able to fly it potentially on IM-2 or IM-3? And we'll just leave it at that.

Well, I'm not sure exactly when. I'm not sure whether or not the university can do it. It would be nice. We'll talk to them and see. I called Jim Gregory, the Dean of the College of Engineering, and told him that... give the students a pep talk that they built a piece of flight hardware, flew it to the Moon and ejected the camera. That's a success. Now, can we get an image? Let's work on that. And so we'll see how that plan shapes up over the next coming months and see where that EagleCam might lie in the future.

Thank you so much for that. Next up, we have Irene Klotz with Aviation Week. Irene? Thanks. For Steve or Kim.

When did you realize that you had made the landing without the LIDAR data? And what was the last payload to send back science data? Was it the scout mission that you were referencing earlier or one of the commercial payloads? Thanks.

Yeah, as Steve mentioned, we had a planned telemetry outage as the vehicle turned, and we went from one set of antennas to another, so we had not yet seen any of the ladder information at that point, but that wasn't necessarily a surprise because we weren't sure what the performance of NDL would be. And we didn't know if it would work until we got closer to the surface. It really wasn't until after probably day three on the surface where we began getting telemetry packets down and interrogating the stored data on the vehicle that we realized we hadn't processed it and we'd landed just with the optical measurements. There's a second part of the question, but I lost it. What was the last payload? Last payload. It's a race to the finish. We have, I think ROLSES and SCALPSS have been generating and collecting data over the last 24 hours. And so who actually collected the last data and who generated the last data? It would probably be one of those, right, Sue? Well, and it's also what data has been sent back latest. And what I can say is that as we were getting ready for this press conference, they're still running the vehicle. And so stay tuned because Odie's not done.

Great, thank you guys so much for that. Next up we have Ken Chang with the New York Times, Ken?

Hi, thank you. I wanted to confirm all the communications where it has been through the low-gain antennas. I just wanted to get you to describe how many there are and where they are in the spacecraft. And then I have some power questions. When is lunar sunset? When's the next sunrise? And how long do the batteries last when there's no more power being generated by the panel? Thank you.

Yeah, thanks, Ken. There are four antennas on the vehicle. During transit, we actually used our high-gain antenna several times, as intended, but we have four hemi's on the top of the vehicle, and they all have a slightly different pointing, kind of like this. I'll get a better model next time. But they all point in slightly kind of a clocking configuration, but those are all the hemi's. And then the high-gain antenna is on this side, and it's co-aligned with one of the hemispherical low-gain antennas. Since we've been on the surface, all communications have been with the low gain antennas. Absolutely. And then for power Odie runs about 100, 125 watts, kind of in the minimum power mode for the computer and the radios and the power distribution units and minimum heaters. So once the, and it's not exactly sunset that's the problem. It's the Sun is now passing across the solar array that we have available. And so when the Sun moves past that, it'll be just a matter of a few hours. And we were getting really close to that when we came in. Now, the good news is, as you look at the way Odie's laying on the surface, the Sun is moving towards the engine this way. And so by tomorrow, it'll almost be completely over the engine. So even though the lander is still illuminated, this particular solar array is not. But when the Sun comes back up in the east, we'll find out if everything else still comes on. That top deck is in a great position to pick the Sun up at sunrise. And so we'll start listening at sunrise at our location and see if Odie wakes up from a nap.

Thank you so much for that. Jim Siegel at nasatech.net. Jim?

Hi everybody. Jim Siegel here and thank you for taking my question and congratulations to all of you on a great success. I wondered if you had any idea what the approximate temperature on the lunar surface is, where Odysseus is, what the temperature is and how would you rate the performance of the Columbia blankets that were supposed to protect the tanks for the propellants? Thank you.

Well, it's been cooling because the Sun, even though we're at 80 degrees, it's starting to go down. And as you know, there's an intense thermal gradient at the Moon where things that are on the day side of equipment get very, very warm. And the things that are in shadow even a few feet away get very, very cold. And so, but the average temperature we are starting to drop and cool, that's very interesting because as we continue to record radio frequency data from our stations, listening to the last communications on this round with Odie, that's actually giving us information about multipath and the interaction with a cooling surface on the Moon. And then as far as Columbia goes, the material has worked so well that we plan on using additional Columbia materials on IM-2. So this has gone from being an intriguing partnership for sponsorship to a relationship that is really valuable for us. And we're gonna take their material technology capability with us on future missions and expand on that partnership.

Great, thank you for that. Anthony Leon with Spectrum News. Anthony?

Yes, thank you very much and congratulations on the successful mission. How much of the data that's been collected will be shared with NASA for their Artemis 3 mission? Thank you.

I think I can take that one. Definitely a suite of instruments that we have are very well designed for helping to ensure the safe landing of future Artemis missions. So the short answer is all of the data that can be used for Artemis will be used for Artemis. In addition, the science data in general, when NASA has payloads, the science data is archived in the Planetary Data System, PDS, and so the data that can be archived in there will be archived for this and all other missions as well. So that's something that generally happens in about six months after a mission is complete.

Thank you so much. Austin De Sisto with Everyday Astronaut. Austin.

Good afternoon. As many of those have said, congratulations. Thanks for your transparency throughout this. I'm really curious, and if you could talk a little more, either Steve or Tim, on kind of the data downlink limitations that have been due to only using the low-gain antennas and how that differs from A, what you would have expected, and B, what you are expecting for IM-2 and IM-3. And furthermore, you said you want to add more cameras. Are we talking because we see any high-resolution videos if that downlink capability is there? Thanks.

Well, from a communications point of view, once we landed, before we figured out how to configure our radios, we were getting drops of data. And then we moved from drops of data with the assistance of the Large Dish in Australia to a trickle of data, a steady trickle of data. When we land with our high-gain antenna, and we have an even better high-gain antenna on IM-2 than we had on this one, that will be a flood.

And so it will be orders of magnitude more data at landing for IM-2 and beyond. And we have every faith and confidence that that data will be there for us. So we're really looking forward to landing in that configuration. Now with respect to beaming live telemetry and bringing that down, we're working towards improving that. That's part of the reason we're developing orbiting assets to have relay and communication services around the Moon. It's very difficult to transmit on the fly, if you will, and get that all the way back to Earth with a high data bandwidth link. So our strategic plan is to eventually close that link by doing a bent pipe through orbiting assets. And then we will be in a world where we're seeing live video as we land. And of course, that sets up not only for safety for astronauts and Artemis, but more insight into the activities that are going on on a day-to-day basis on the Moon.

Robert Perlman with CollectSpace. Robert?

Thank you and congratulations. To Steve, while realizing that your primary focus has been on analyzing the landing data and collecting science, doing that you know exactly where Odie touchdown via LRO, has there been any discussion among the Intuitive Resources Team, Intuitive Machines team about nicknaming or proposing a formal name for your landing site?

I love that idea. I think we need to think about that. I actually, I'm going to start a competition for that. Anybody have any suggestions? I thought Penelope would be a good one because that was Odysseus' wife that he struggled through all those voyages to get back home to. But we'll compete it just as we did Odysseus.

Thank you for that question. Leo Enright with Irish Television. Leo.

Thanks, Nilufar. I was in that briefing room back when America last landed on the Moon, and I can absolutely tell you that there wasn't a single person in that room who thought it would take 52 years. Anyway, my question, I think, is mostly for Joel, and that is to do with infrastructure. A boring question, infrastructure. How urgent is it to get infrastructure into orbit to support CLPS? not even the human landings. And how important is ESA's lunar pathfinder, which is due to launch hopefully fairly soon, how important will that be for the future?

Our Artemis Initiative is a partnership with industry and with space agencies around the world. And what today in these very initial robotic commercially provided service of lunar landings, we buy each delivery of NASA cargo and our data back one mission at a time. But as you heard from, for example, Tim and the two of the machines, they have their own plans in place for what types of infrastructure to start deploying cislunar space. Other companies do too. NASA in the U.S. really does want to explore the limits of service procurements and public-private partnerships, as opposed to doing things ourselves. Part of that also, as you said, is taking advantage of partners' infrastructure development, whether that is technical demonstrations of infrastructure or actually providing infrastructure that all the partners can use. So as you said, on a future Eclipse mission, the European Space Agency working a partnership with NASA will provide the lunar pathfinder com relay demonstration node and we will take that and drop it off at lunar orbit along with a NASA lander mission that will go down to the surface. As part of working these partnerships between NASA and other space agencies, we're looking at what type of science to do, what type of technology to develop, and what type of infrastructure is needed on the surface of the moon or in cislunar space.

Thank you so much. We have time for one final question and we have David Curley with Full Throttle. David.

Thank you very much. Always fun to be last. Tim, I don't know if you were white in the face during the landing since you told you were gonna land without lasers and you did, but Steve, it comes back to the switch in the one wire and that changed everything for you on this mission. In the big picture, this is the first time you've flown, lot to learn. Are you humbled or emboldened by what you've just done?

Before the mission, we had an absolute sense of humility, yet relied on our technical excellence and trusted in our years of experience and this incredible team that we have. Following this, I would say, unqualified success of a mission, I'm emboldened. I'm emboldened for the future of the US economy. I'm emboldened for the future of sustained human presence on the moon. And I'm emboldened for the future of Intuitive Machines and the wonderful team that we have that we can be part of, a significant part of, this new cislunar economy and pioneer our way forward. I'm really proud of that. And yes, I feel really emboldened today based on the success; great way to close us out.

And thank you so much to everyone who submitted questions this afternoon and to our briefers for all of your comments and taking the time to discuss this groundbreaking mission with [us], enabled by NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services or Eclipse Initiative. We hope that you continue to follow along on the journey by following Intuitive Machines as platforms or nasa.gov slash CLPS. That will wrap today's briefing. Thank you so much.

February 29, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission achieves significant milestones [TRL9] by successfully reaching the Moon

Latest info/pics from Intuitive Machines,.









Pamela Melroy, Deputy Administrator at NASA ~ Intuitive Machines a vanguard for #Artemis

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The Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission has indeed achieved reaching significant milestones by successfully touching down on the Moon. Let's delve into the reasons behind its impressive performance and address any misconceptions. 1.) Mission Overview: The IM-1 mission involved Intuitive Machines' Nova-C class lunar lander, which was launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. Key achievements include establishing a stable attitude, solar charging, and radio communications contact with the mission operations center in Houston. This mission is part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, which aims to pave the way for human missions and sustainable presence on the lunar surface. 2. Success Factors: Engine Commissioning: Intuitive Machines successfully fired the first liquid methane/liquid oxygen engine in space. This critical step included a full thrust mainstage engine burn and throttle down profile necessary for lunar landing. Image Transmission: Shortly after separation from SpaceX's second stage, Intuitive Machines transmitted its first mission images to Earth. These images provide valuable data for further analysis. 3. Why Over 90% Success? [From CLPS's inception, NASA officials cautioned that even a 50 percent mission success rate was acceptable for the program. - First Commercial Moon Landing Returns U.S. to Lunar Surface, Scientific American, 2 23.2024]: Robust Engineering: Intuitive Machines meticulously designed and tested the IM-1 mission components, ensuring reliability and functionality. Collaboration: Close collaboration with NASA and other stakeholders allowed for effective problem-solving and risk mitigation. Experience: Leveraging decades of space exploration expertise, Intuitive Machines made informed decisions during mission planning and execution. Adaptability: The team adapted to unforeseen challenges, demonstrating resilience and flexibility. 4. Addressing Misconceptions: False Narratives: Some may spread misinformation or doubt about the mission's success. However, the facts speak for themselves: IM-1 achieved its objectives. Educate and Inform: Share accurate information through articles, interviews, and public statements. Highlight the mission's accomplishments and the importance of space exploration. Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge the hard work of scientists, engineers, and everyone involved. Publicize the positive impact of space missions. In summary, the Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission exemplifies dedication, innovation, and successful collaboration. Let's celebrate this achievement and continue supporting space exploration! 🚀🌕

The commendations from U.S. President Joe Biden and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson hold significant weight in the space exploration community. Let's explore their statements and implications: 1.) President Joe Biden's Statement: In a White House statement, President Biden expressed excitement about the successful landing of the Odysseus Lunar Craft, which was developed by Intuitive Machines in collaboration with NASA. He highlighted that this achievement marks the first Moon landing by an American company and represents a thrilling step forward in a new era of space exploration. The President emphasized the importance of American ingenuity, innovation, and curiosity in making this mission possible. He also reaffirmed NASA's commitment to the Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the Moon for the first time in decades, with public and private-sector partnerships. "On Thursday night, for the first time in over 50 years, an American spacecraft landed on the Moon – a thrilling step forward in a new era of space exploration. The robotic lunar lander, named Odysseus, launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on February 15. On Thursday, it sent images from the Moon as it circled in low orbit, before touching down near the South Pole. This mission marks a milestone: the first Moon landing by an American company. Odysseus is a public-private partnership between NASA and the American company Intuitive Machines. It was made possible by American ingenuity, innovation, and curiosity. And, through NASA’s Artemis program, it’s the first of more public- and private-sector space missions to come, bringing together our international and commercial partners to return humans to the Moon for the first time in decades. America is leading the world back to the Moon. In 1962, when America’s first Moon landing was still years away, President Kennedy spoke to a group of students about why the United States sets such bold missions for ourselves. “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things,” he said, “not because they are easy but because they are hard.” And he continued, “That challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one that we are unwilling to postpone, and one that we intend to win.” What was true then is true now. America does hard things. We rise to the great scientific challenges of our time. And there’s nothing beyond our capacity when we work together. I congratulate the Intuitive Machines team who successfully landed Odysseus, as well as their partners at NASA who are shaping the future of human space exploration." 2.) NASA Administrator Bill Nelson's Remarks: Bill Nelson, NASA's administrator, congratulated Intuitive Machines for this historic triumph. He acknowledged the significance of Odysseus' landing, emphasizing that prior to this success, only government space agencies had achieved soft landings on the Moon. Nelson's support and recognition underscores the importance of public-private collaborations in advancing space exploration. His positive assessment bodes well for future funding and continued cooperation between NASA and Intuitive Machines. "For the first time in over 50 years, an American spacecraft landed on the Moon – made possible by American ingenuity, innovation, and curiosity. Congratulations to the teams at NASA and Intuitive Machines on this thrilling step forward. We're leading the world back to the Moon." 3.) Implications for Funding and Future Missions: Credibility: Presidential and NASA endorsements validate Intuitive Machines' capabilities and boost its credibility. Investor Confidence: Positive remarks from high-ranking officials attracts investors and encourages further investment in the company. Continued Collaboration: NASA's partnership with Intuitive Machines will continue, leading to more joint missions, funding opportunities. Industry Reputation: Success breeds success. Intuitive Machines' achievement positions them as a reliable player in the space industry, attracting clients and collaborators. In summary, the recognition from President Biden and Administrator Nelson not only celebrates Intuitive Machines' achievement but also opens doors for future endeavors. The Moon is just the beginning; exciting missions lie ahead! 🚀🌕



Pamela Melroy, Deputy Administrator at NASA ~ Intuitive Machines a vanguard for #Artemis

A vanguard for #Artemis, Intuitive Machines becomes the first commercial company to soft land on the Moon: Thursday marked a monumental milestone in our journey beyond Earth as Intuitive Machines successfully soft landed on the Moon, bringing the U.S. back to the lunar surface for the first time in over 50 years. This achievement not only demonstrates the incredible progress we've made in space exploration but also paves the way for a future where the Moon becomes a thriving hub for scientific research and technological advancements. The significance of this mission cannot be overstated. While we continue to learn more about the lander’s status, Odysseus is opening doors for unprecedented opportunities to unlock the mysteries of our celestial neighbor for the betterment of humanity. From conducting cutting-edge scientific experiments to developing innovative technologies, the possibilities are truly limitless. Transportation is always the first critical infrastructure for science, technology, and the logistics for sustained human presence. This landing is a huge step! But what also excites me is the potential to build a robust lunar ecosystem under #Artemis that fosters collaboration among nations, industries, and academic institutions and furthers the blueprint for responsible, sustained human presence throughout the solar system. By establishing a sustained presence on the Moon, we can create a platform for interdisciplinary research and development, driving progress in fields ranging from space exploration and astronomy to materials science and robotics. Likewise, this first step creates an avenue for testing the technologies and helping us figure out how best to do human-enabled science on Mars. Imagine a future where habitats on other celestial bodies serve as bases for scientific exploration, manufacturing facilities, and even tourist destinations. With advancements in robotics and automation, we can leverage lunar resources to support human presence on the Moon and beyond, enabling us to explore even further into the cosmos. As we celebrate this historic achievement, let us not only marvel at how far we've come, but also look ahead to the endless possibilities that lie before us. Together, let's continue to push the boundaries of exploration, innovation, and collaboration as we strive to build a brighter future for all humanity. Congratulations, Intuitive Machines and the NASA CLPS program!


The 9 Technology Readiness Levels of the DoD


The science and technology community employed by the Department of Defense uses the abbreviation TRL in reference to “technology readiness level.” It’s a helpful knowledge-based standard and shorthand for evaluating the maturity of a technology or invention.

One is the lowest level of technology readiness and nine is the highest.

Here’s the definition of each TRL so you can familiarize yourself with the scale.


Technology Readiness Level 1: Basic principles observed and reported

Lowest level of technology readiness. Scientific research begins to be translated into applied research and development (R&D). Examples might include paper studies of a technology’s basic properties. Supporting information includes published research that identifies the principles that underlie this technology, references to who, where, and when.


Technology Readiness Level 2: Technology concept and/or application formulated

Invention begins. Once basic principles are observed, practical applications can be invented. Applications are speculative, and there may be no proof or detailed analysis to support the assumptions. Examples are limited to analytic studies. Supporting information includes publications or other references that outline the application being considered and that provide analysis to support the concept.


Technology Readiness Level 3: Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept

Active R&D is initiated. This includes analytical studies and laboratory studies to physically validate the analytical predictions of separate elements of the technology. Examples include components that are not yet integrated or representative. Supporting information includes the results of laboratory tests performed to measure parameters of interest and comparison to analytical predictions for critical subsystems. References to who, where, and when these tests and comparisons were performed.


Technology Readiness Level 4: Component and/or breadboard validation in a laboratory environment

Basic technological components are integrated to establish that they will work together. This is relatively “low fidelity” compared with the eventual system. Examples include integration of “ad hoc” hardware in the laboratory. Supporting information includes system concepts that have been considered and results from testing laboratory scale breadboard(s). And references to who did this work and when. Documentation provides an estimate of how breadboard hardware and test results differ from the expected system goals.


Technology Readiness Level 5: Component and/or breadboard validation in a relevant environment

Fidelity of breadboard technology increases significantly. The basic technological components are integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements so they can be tested in a simulated environment. Examples include “high-fidelity” laboratory integration of components. Supporting information includes results from testing laboratory breadboard system are integrated with other supporting elements in a simulated operational environment. How does the “relevant environment” differ from the expected operational environment? How do the test results compare with expectations? What problems, if any, were encountered? Was the breadboard system refined to more nearly match the expected system goals?


Technology Readiness Level 6: System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment

Representative model or prototype system, which is well beyond that of TRL 5, is tested in a relevant environment. Represents a major step up in a technology’s demonstrated readiness. Examples include testing a prototype in a high-fidelity laboratory environment or in a simulated operational environment. Supporting information includes results from laboratory testing of a prototype system that is near the desired configuration in terms of performance, weight, and volume. How did the test environment differ from the operational environment? Who performed the tests? How did the test compare with expectations? What problems, if any, were encountered? What are/were the plans, options, or actions to resolve problems before moving to the next level?


Technology Readiness Level 7: System prototype demonstration in an operational environment

Prototype near or at planned operational system. Represents a major step up from TRL 6 by requiring demonstration of an actual system prototype in an operational environment (e.g., in an aircraft, in a vehicle, or in space). Supporting information includes results from testing a prototype system in an operational environment. Who performed the tests? How did the test compare with expectations? What problems, if any, were encountered? What are/were the plans, options, or actions to resolve problems before moving to the next level?


Technology Readiness Level 8: Actual system completed and qualified through test and demonstration

Technology has been proven to work in its final form and under expected conditions. In almost all cases, this TRL represents the end of true system development. Examples include developmental test and evaluation (DT&E) of the system in its intended weapon system to determine if it meets design specifications.Supporting information includes results of testing the system in its final configuration under the expected range of environmental conditions in which it will be expected to operate. Assessment of whether it will meet its operational requirements. What problems, if any, were encountered? What are/were the plans, options, or actions to resolve problems before finalizing the design?


Technology Readiness Level 9: Actual system proven through successful mission operations

Actual application of the technology in its final form and under mission conditions, such as those encountered in operational test and evaluation (OT&E). Examples include using the system under operational mission conditions. Supporting information includes OT&E reports.

Source: Technology Readiness Assessment Guidance, prepared by the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering


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A list of 8 U.S. patents granted to Intuitive Machines LLC, a space exploration company based in Houston, Texas: 

-US Patent No. 10,898,098 [granted on January 26, 2021]:

Lunar Lander with Integrated Propulsion System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that uses a single propulsion system for both orbit insertion and landing maneuvers, reducing mass and complexity. The propulsion system consists of a main engine and four thrusters that can be independently controlled and gimbaled to provide thrust and attitude control. The patent claims that this design can increase the payload capacity and reliability of the lunar lander, as well as simplify the mission planning and execution.

-US Patent No. 10,922,975 [granted on February 16, 2021]:

Lunar Lander with Integrated Payload Module. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a detachable payload module that can be deployed on the lunar surface, allowing for multiple payloads to be delivered by a single lander. The payload module can also communicate with the lander and other modules via a wireless network, enabling data exchange and coordination. The patent claims that this design can reduce the cost and complexity of lunar missions, as well as increase the flexibility and scalability of lunar exploration.

-US Patent No. 10,929,920 [granted on February 23, 2021]:

Lunar Lander with Integrated Solar Array. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a foldable solar array that can be deployed after landing, providing power for the lander and the payload module. The patent claims that this design can extend the mission duration and capabilities of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the dependency on batteries and fuel cells.

-US Patent No. 10,933,323 [granted on February 23, 2021]:

Lunar Lander with Integrated Communications System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a high-gain antenna and a low-gain antenna that can communicate with Earth and other spacecraft, providing reliable and secure data transmission. The patent claims that this design can enhance the scientific and commercial value of lunar missions, as well as enable future lunar networks and services.

-US Patent No. 10,936,352 [granted on February 23, 2021]: Lunar Lander with Integrated Navigation System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a guidance, navigation, and control system that uses sensors, cameras, and algorithms to autonomously land on the lunar surface, avoiding hazards and achieving high accuracy. The patent claims that this design can increase the safety and reliability of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the complexity and cost of the landing system.

-US Patent No. 10,939,111 [granted on March 2, 2021]:

Lunar Lander with Integrated Thermal Control System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a passive and active thermal control system that regulates the temperature of the lander and the payload module, ensuring optimal performance and survival in the harsh lunar environment. The patent claims that this design can increase the mission duration and capabilities of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the power consumption and mass of the thermal system.

-US Patent No. 10,941,246 [granted on March 2, 2021]:

Lunar Lander with Integrated Power System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a power system that uses batteries, fuel cells, and solar panels to provide electrical power for the lander and the payload module, enabling long-duration missions and operations. The patent claims that this design can increase the mission duration and capabilities of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the power consumption and mass of the power system.

-US Patent No. 10,942,112 [granted on March 9, 2021]:

Lunar Lander with Integrated Landing Legs. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has integrated landing legs that can absorb shock and provide stability on the lunar surface. The patent claims that this design can increase the safety and reliability of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the mass and complexity of the landing system.


More re: Intuitive Machines' patents:

Intuitive Machines has over 100 patents and patent applications in various fields, such as lunar landers, orbital services, propulsion systems, and additive manufacturing, its patent portfolio is one of its key competitive advantages and sources of revenue.


We’re growing. Something about us compels us to learn, explore. Yes, the human compulsion. 

Congratulations! A gigantic accomplishment!!!

NASA / Intuitive Machines recording 2.23.2024 conference


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Rough transcript of the NASA Intuitive Machines 2.23.2024 conference:

We turned our whole company towards attempting to land on the Moon to return the United States to the Moon for the first time in 52 years.

Nova-C uses an environmentally friendly mixture of liquid methane and liquid oxygen.

Incredibly challenging thing like landing on the Moon forced us to innovate.

A lot of machines have built an entire space program to support these liquid emissions.

The company completed its lunar lander in a new facility at the Houston Space Force just down the street from NASA's Johnson Space Center.

It's an autonomous Nova-C class lunar lander named Odysseus.

Lunar lander arrived at Kennedy Space Center in Florida back in December.

Since then, teams have been integrating the spacecraft to Falcon 9's second stage in preparation for launch.

This is why I wanted Odysseus lunar lander.

Falcon 9 has successfully lifted off from Pad 39 and Kennedy Space Center.

An incredible site to see.

Odysseus lunar lander separation confirmed.

Our Nova-C lunar lander has successfully separated from the second stage of a launch vehicle, autonomously commissioned and made first communications contact with Nova Control.

The approach for landing is actually very similar to what Apollo did, which should be no surprise because the physics is pretty much the same.

Let's honor this momentous milestone and prepare for the challenges and triumphs that await us on our lunar journey.

Good afternoon and welcome to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

I'm Miller Farangie with NASA Communications.

Thank you for joining us.

On February 22nd, Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission softly landed in the South Pole region of the Moon near Malapur A.

Named Odysseus, the lander completed a seven-day journey to become the first US soft landing on the Moon in more than 50 years.

Joining us today to provide insight on this historic mission and to answer questions, we have Steve Altemus, co-founder and CEO at Intuitive Machines.

Joel Kerns, Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration, Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington.

Dr. Tim Crane, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder at Intuitive Machines.

And Dr. Prasun Desai, Associate Administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters.

First, we'll start with some initial remarks from our briefers before opening it up for questions.

We'll be taking your questions on our phone bridge this afternoon.

So if you've joined us today, please press *1 to add your name to the queue and ask your question.

We'll now begin with opening remarks from Steve.

Thank you, Noah.

Well, hello, everybody.

It's reflected before we came into the briefing studio this afternoon that this is the first briefing about being on the surface of the Moon for the first time in about 52 years in this room.

So that's quite incredible and it's a pleasure to be here.

Intuitive Machines Odysseus lander landed yesterday at 524 central time.

We did have a stable controlled landing and a safe soft touchdown.

I'll give you a little bit of description today about the state of Odysseus or Odie and its attitude on the surface and what you can expect from it over the coming days.

It's pretty incredible.

It was quite a spicy seven-day mission to get to the Moon.

And I'll give you some fun facts about how far we've traveled and how fast we've gone.

So just to begin with, the vehicle is stable near or at our intended landing site.

We do have communications with the lander.

It's from the larger radio astronomy dishes around the world that are part of our lunar telemetry network and to the spacecraft from several of the antennas and two of the radios.

So that's phenomenal to begin with.

So we're beginning to, now that we're on the Goonhilly [Earth Station], the United Kingdom, we're downloading and commanding, downloading data from the buffers in the spacecraft and commanding the spacecraft.

And trying to get you surface photos because I know that everyone's hungry for those surface photos.

But we got some interesting data that gives us a position on attitude of where the lander is and I'll explain that in a moment.

We have the sun and pinching on the solar arrays and charging our batteries.

We are providing power to the spacecraft and we're at 100% state of charge.

That's fantastic. I talked to you about the communications and we will be taking an image hopefully this weekend from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to find the lander and pinpoint its location in the South Pole region of the Moon.

If you can go to the photo here that we have, this is a photo that I thought you'd find interesting that we'll release to the public here.

And here we're flying about 10 kilometers over the surface of Schomberger crater near the South Pole region of the Moon.

We're still about 200 kilometers up range from where our intended landing site is.

But here we have one of our public affairs cameras taking this beautiful image and you see how shadowed and undulating the terrain is.

It's important to understand how difficult it is to the land on the surface of the Moon.

So thanks for that image. Going back, I could say that it was quite phenomenal that if you think about it, we were traveling 25,000 miles an hour.

And we came down and touched down at about 6 miles an hour with a downrange traverse of about 2 miles an hour.

So that's kind of just an interesting metric for you.

We traveled two and a half times the distance to the lunar surface.

That's about 600,000 miles due to the trajectory and the number of orbits that we've gone through in doing that and in performing that incredible deceleration.

Our first of a kind liquid oxygen/liquid methane, additively manufactured 3D printed engine burned six times for a cumulative burn time of over 20 minutes.

It's just an incredible performing machine and we're really proud to take that technology to a TRL level 9.

I got to say something about the team, the ops teams were cool under pressure for the whole seven days.

It was quite amazing to see them and work, real space cowboys and we worked through all the difficulties.

If you think back from Apollo days, there wasn't one mission that went absolutely perfectly.

So you have to be adaptable, you have to be innovative and you have to persevere.

And we persevered right up until the last moments to get this soft touchdown like we wanted to.

Let me just talk briefly about attitude on the surface.

This is a little lander.

I'm going to pretend that's the rock that the landers leaning on.

We think we came down with, like I said, about 6 miles an hour this way and about 2 miles an hour this way and caught a foot in the surface and the lander has tipped like this.

And we believe this is the surf, the orientation of the lander on the Moon.

We're getting sun moving this way around the lander so the solar arrays are being powered and we believe a little later we'll get solar sun on the top deck solar array.

The majority of our payloads are all in view and we are collecting science and we've collected science along the way to the Moon and we've been downloading that data.

In particular, three payloads that are positioned on the lander, they have been active, operationally used in this mission.

The LN-1 payload out of Marshall Space Flight Center, actually assisted us in determining our precise location in space orbit determination, we call it using a Doppler measurement.

That was very useful and as it was part of the Deep Space Network; it augmented our communications from our own commercial network.

The other one you've heard about was the NASA Doppler LiDAR from Langley Research Center and we integrated their telemetry stream into our nav application (navigation application) and we used that for our power descent initiation.

Finally, the one that was very useful was a new technology out of Glenn Research Center and that was the Radio Frequency Mass Gauge and that instrument really gave us an understanding of what the propellant tank levels were, which helped this budget the amount of propellant to take us all the way safely to the surface of the Moon.

Very interesting mission so far as we get more telemetry and turn more things on we'll be updating you over the coming days of the analysis and the reconstruction of the landing.

Tim can comment on that a little bit today on how we did the power descent all the way to the surface and why we believe in the data that I'm talking to you about today.

Yesterday we thought from, just to clear up some confusion, we thought we were upright and the reason was that the tanks were reading this is the x direction and the tanks were reading gravity on the Moon at the fill levels, there were still residuals in the tank and we saw those measurements in the x direction.

Well that was stale telemetry so when we work through the night to get other telemetry down we notice that in the z direction, this direction is where we're seeing the tank, residual tank quantities, and so that's what tells us with certainly, fairly certain terms, the orientation of the vehicle and hopefully we'll get a picture here this weekend and share it with you.

Nilufar that's all I have.

Thank you so much Steve. Next up we have Joel Kerns Joel.

Thank you Noah for first let me congratulate Intuitive Machines for three major accomplishments; the first as Steve said is for having the first successful soft landing on the Moon by the United States since 1972.

The second is for being the first non-government commercial organization to actually touch down safely on the surface of the Moon, and the third is for having a touchdown point.

80 degrees south latitude much closer to the South Pole of the Moon than any earlier US robotic or human explorers.

Let me give you some of the context for the importance of Intuitive Machines accomplishment on their mission.

In 2017 the nation charged NASA to expand our scientific and technical work in the area of the Moon science technology and human explorers under our Artemis initiative.

Part of that, NASA went down the path to listen to what industry had been telling us for some years, which is that for robotic landing services, that we should be able to purchase that from US industry instead of doing it ourselves at NASA for robotic systems.

Now NASA is very good at building and operating robotic probes throughout the solar system but we knew we'd be going back to the Moon repeatedly to do science and technical studies and eventually human exploration.

So we put into place this Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative or CLPS to buy and affect the service to bring NASA cargo down to the surface of the Moon and have the data from those experiments brought back to Earth by industry.

Intuitive Machines is one of the participants in that initiative that's now been awarded three service contracts to bring NASA equipment experiments cargo down to the surface of the Moon, and this was Intuitive Machines first attempt, their first mission to the Moon carrying our cargo.

I have talked about all the potential advantages of having industry do this for NASA.

The industry had told us years ago that they thought they were technically ready to do it, that they thought if they specialized in doing it that they could probably do it at less cost and much more frequently and much faster from initial order than NASA probably could since we would normally build a custom spacecraft for every endeavor.

And we've seen that so far in the progress that our CLPS vendors have made as they're working down to fly off their first missions.

Intuitive Machines though however in doing a soft touch down on the Moon has provided the first real evidence that this is possible to do.

It's possible with today's technology with dedicated engineering and appropriate financial management to have a private company actually design a spacecraft, to develop a mission by a rocket, and fly all the way to the Moon and soft land on the surface.

Not just in an area where we landed earlier decades ago near the equator with the Apollo missions but in the unusual territory of the South Pole which is the focus of our future human Artemis missions.

This is a gigantic accomplishment. On this particular mission we had the company bring six NASA science and technology experiments on board down to the lunar surface.

It's arranged to get to do studies in science in looking at the electron density and plasma on the surface of the Moon, technology studies such as measuring a rocket plume impingement during landing, navigation studies on the way to the Moon down to the surface of the Moon, laser ranging fuel quantity and other investigations.

And interestingly enough when we started this we had put together a list of different instruments and payloads that the commercial lunar payload service companies could volunteer to take down to the surface of the Moon and Intuitive Machines picked a compliment of five payloads which we later augmented with the Radio Frequency Mass Gauge fuel measurement experiment and Intuitive Machines picked a number of payloads and experiments from NASA to bring down which is see brought out greatly benefited them during the execution of their mission.

So at this point today is Intuitive Machines looks to make sure they understand the status of the Odysseus vehicle.

We are already looking back at scientific and technological data that we accumulated during the transit out to the Moon during the de-orbit operations and we're looking forward to get even more data as Intuitive Machines figured finishes the checkout of Odysseus.

Now in doing so we knew at NASA when we went out to gather this by commercial services that we had these great potential benefits but we also had risks.

We knew for example no one had previously done this.

We knew we were asking industry to do an incredibly difficult thing to do to go from those high speeds of orbital velocity all the way down to the very slow speeds to get to a particular position on the Moon where we wanted them to land.

And Intuitive Machines accomplishment for this actually shows everyone that this is, this approach will work and we look forward to using it over and over in the future.


Thank you so much all will now hand it over to Tim.

Thank you, Nilufar.

Very excited to be here today.

They told me to smile before the press conference and I can't help but smile anyway because we landed on the Moon.

A little bit about Odysseus. Odysseus is a mostly autonomous vehicle.

Our operations crew would monitor the vehicle during flight.

We provide some trajectory updates and parameter updates and that's what got us into lunar orbit.

The lunar descent is different though during orbit we would prepare for maneuvers.

We'd watch the maneuver and then know that we had time to recover afterwards and replant for the next stage.

But lunar powered descent is the end game.

There is no after.

You're either successful or you fail.

And so the last rev around the Moon we buttoned up any last minute changes we wanted on the vehicle and there were a few that we may talk about today.

And basically the vehicle disappeared behind the far side of the Moon.

We had lots of signal for 25 minutes.

Everybody got up and went to the bathroom.

There was nothing to do but wait for the signal to come back on.

It was amazing how quickly we adapted to continuous communications during transit to regular losses of signal being a part of our light because we're circling the Moon.

Once we came up around the North Pole of the Moon we were in a polar orbit.

The vehicle was completely autonomous.

We watched as the onboard systems pointed our cameras to the Moon.

We processed over 10,000 images on board with our own machine learning algorithms to manage the speed of the vehicle.

And the guidance system decided based on the propulsion system are available thrust levels, orbital velocity and distance to the target near the South Pole when the right time to turn the engines were.

That's power descent initiation and the engines came on approximately 13 minutes before landing.

We were at full thrust for what we call breaking one.

Basically we were trying to slow down from approximately 3,600 miles per hour to something more like 30 miles per hour near the landing site.

That's breaking one.

The vehicle performed flawlessly.

Our main engine thrust was good.

Our thrust control was perfect.

Engine performance has exceeded expectations in many ways and flight control, my personal background.

We kept the vehicle pointed exactly where it was supposed to go for the entire burn.

We monitored down until a pitch over event.

So early in the trajectory, the vehicle is basically flying sideways with respect to the Moon.

And we're flying in one direction and the engine is slowing us down to take that velocity out of the vehicle.

Once we get within a kilometer of the landing site, however, the vehicle goes into what we call a pitch over.

And this brings another set of cameras into alignment with the landing site.

At that point, we lost calm, which we knew we would do because we switched from one side of antennas to another.

And then we regained communications all the way until approximately 200 meters above the landing site.

Then there was a tense moment where we did not have regular communications, but our dedicated radio and ground operations crew found the signal.

And within an hour or so, we were getting the first data down from the surface of the Moon.

I could not be prouder of our operations team and our engineers for putting together Odysseus, which was a marvelous machine.

And to look at the Moon every night now and know that we have new hardware there that we had a hand in building in our lifetime.

Something I couldn't say before.

It really was a magical, magical day.

Thank you.

Thank you so much, Tim.

And now finally, we'll hand it over to Person.

Thank you, Milifer.

So, first and foremost, congratulations to Intuitive Machines.

An amazing, successful landing success story.

You know, one of the things that we, from a technology and space tech, want to do is we want to go, we repeated access to various parts of the solar system to do this tech demonstration because in our view, technology drives exploration.

And we had a number of experiments on this technology demonstrations on this lander.

And one was called to be used operationally.

And I'll talk a little bit about that.

But this aspect of a successful landing really allows to pointing on to what Joel said is repeated access to the lunar surface.

We have a slew of technologies we want to demonstrate, as well as many scientific instruments that we want to send for understanding the lunar environment.

And by having a successful story like today, yesterday that happened, it allows us for setting up the next set of projects that we want to fly and demonstrate.

One of the things that we wanted to do is try to do as much as possible testing on the ground.

But that only gets us to a certain technology readiness level, which is typically TRL 5, sometimes 6.

What that means is we're not quite in the environment that we want to be in.

And so this is why we want to go and experiment in space or on a lunar surface wherever it happens to be.

One of the big technology demonstrations on this landing was the navigation Doppler LiDAR.

We were hoping through the test of flying on this mission was to get it to TRL 6, which is the relevant environment, the lunar environment.

However, with the successful ingestion of it during landing, we were able to get a operational system now, TRL 9, which is it's ready to be used from now on, right, as opposed to for the testing.

This wasn't totally by accident.

The teams at NASA Langley Research Center that helped develop this technology did a lot of development over the years, as well as working with Intuitive Machines to see about ingesting this data if necessary.

Fortunately, all that hard work came to bear yesterday when there was a technical issue.

And the teams decided that it was best to try to do the switch and rely on this tech demonstration.

Everything we understand from the telemetry we received, which is limited to this point until we get all the data back, that the technology performed flawlessly.

Better than expected performance. It acquired range and velocity data well above the required 5 kilometers altitude as it's descending.

And the reason why we need this data for successful landing is as landers come down, we would ideally like to have them come straight down.

But because there's errors in all the operations of the system, you wind up being a little bit going laterally going there.

This measurement is really to try to get an understanding of that lateral motion so that the system can counteract that and zero out that lateral motion to come down straight down.

So you need these type of measurements to make that happen. This is one set of technologies that allows to do that.

There are slew of other ones to make the landings even more reliable and safer that we hope to demonstrate on future landings.

And so having this successful landing today allows us to gear up and get ready to do more of this going forward to enable the Artemis endeavor of repeated access to the surface and eventual landing of humans on the surface and sustained presence on the surface with infrastructure laying down.

So this is the first step in allowing for that and a great day for allowing us to get ready for more to come as we go forward.

Thank you, Prasad. And thank you to our briefers for those initial remarks. We'll now open it up to questions.

Again, if you've joined us on the line today or on our phone bridge, please press *1 to submit your question.

Once your name is called, please state to whom you'd like to direct your questions.

Once your question has been answered, you will be muted. But if your question has already been answered, you will push *2 to withdraw.

Let's open our phone bridge. First up, we have Gina Sonseri with ABC News. Gina?

I think this question is free. There's Steve or Kim. What was your Hail Mary moment during that where you went, we think we can make this work and we just made it work. What were those moments where they're more than one?

Well, I think there were several of those moments. Like I said, it was a spicy mission. I'll let Tim comment a little bit, but you know, the idea to pull the range telemetry from the NASA Doppler LiDAR was interesting and change out the laser range finder callouts in the navigation application.

All that was very straightforward to go calculate part of that was put in a table, but part of that had to mean that we had to rewrite the navigation application software.

And when you do that to upload it to the vehicle, you actually have to stop guidance navigation and control.

When we ran that in the simulation and we ran that on the flat set, it did not like being rebooted like that that software and we saw the guidance drift way off. We saw a lot of healing usage and that was very sporty.

So I think in a very time crunch time getting ready for power decent, we had to work feverishly to get that sequence of events, almost like Fred Hayes in Apollo 13, where trying to figure out the sequence of events to re-initialize the software in particular, re-initialize navigation.

So that was done in a very sporty way and it was brilliantly executed by the team.

And so that was the one that had us all biting our nails just a little bit because once you start power decent, there's no going back like Tim said.

Tim, do you have another one?

I will say on that one a parallel effort for sure. So we had one team re-writing the code, we had one team testing procedures and then another team once the code was written pushing it up on the vehicle moving into place.

That synchronization came down to a flawlessly executed reboot of the navigation system that allowed us to successfully land.

That was exciting, another exciting moment we had after our TCM-1, our trajectory correction maneuver.

We discovered that our engine pointing geometry had an error in it and we had to study that a bit and we found the reason why we had a geometry linkage that was a little bit different than we expected.

It was very difficult to test how that linkage to the main gimbal would respond under full thrust in space and so we were able to use flight data to correct that.

But that was another area where we had to patch the software to put that correction in place and we became very proficient at it.

I will say, and you hear this in the space industry a lot, that we stand on the shoulders of giants.

What we were doing was built upon work people had done before us. NASA's core flight software is a big part of what we do on the flight vehicle and it has a lot of the capabilities to reload and reinitialize software built into it.

And we were able to take advantage of that because of the foresight that people who had done space missions before had invested in that piece of technology and we used it to great effectiveness going forward.

Great, thank you. Next up we have Marsha Dunn with The Associated Press.

Hi, my questions are for you Steve. What's your best guess for how close you are to the targeted touchdown area?

And you said a lake caught the surface. Do you think the lander came in tilted and it's to catch a lake like that? Could it have caught on a rock and then belly flopped?

And do you think it diffused with ever upright even for a moment or two or do you think it just landed on its side from the guess? Thanks.

Well, thank you Marsha for that question. We are reconstructing with the data that we get what we think happened.

My theory is just a theory until we get an actual picture and see what happened but if you pass me the model then I'll show you here is if we're coming down we came down a little bit faster.

We were supposed to come down at one meter per second which is about two miles an hour and we're supposed to know the lateral velocity which was supposed to be zero and we're coming straight down we had about two miles an hour going this way.

And so if you're coming down at six miles an hour is what we think and moving two miles an hour and you catch a foot we might have fractured that landing gear and tipped over gently like I said.

We have to go look at when the main engine cut off was to see if the main engine had any coupling effect to that or not I can't tell you for sure it'd be good to see the health of the landing gear and see how that all looks.

And so it'll be a few days before we get all that put together and reconstructed that's an action I've already given the team and I look forward to the answer to help inform our future flights.

I can add to that that after pitch over we have a hazard relative navigation system that generates measurements at one hertz this is our optical processing and we generated 84 measurements and process 79 of those.

So 84 is important because we have an approximately a one hundred and twenty second timeline from pitch over to landing.

So the fact that we generate 84 accounts for a portion of that timeline they're not necessarily continuous.

The fact that we process 79 of them and they were accepted by the common filter that we have in our software means that there was very good agreement between the inertial measurement unit and our camera velocity measurement and the NDL navigation operator on board.

But those all in agreement that means we had roughly 90 seconds out of 120 seconds guaranteed stable flight coming in so we were very close to the vertical phase.

We don't have the data from that interval yet and so we're waiting to see what that is.

But that's a really good indication that we were in stable control and vertical at the time we touched down.

Thank you. Bill Harwood with CBS News.

Thank you very much. I think this is for Steve. How do you guys know it's resting on a rock as it were and not on its side.

In other words, how many degrees of vertical did your type readings lead you to think if you've even got a number like that?

And are there any payloads on board that simply cannot work in the current orientation? Thanks.

Well, let Tim address part of it, but our reconstruction by based on how much power we're getting off of this solar array says that it has to be somewhat elevated off the surface horizontally.

So that's why we think it's on a rock or the foot is in a crevice or something to get to hold it in that attitude.

Fortunately, for most, most of the payloads are exposed to the outside above the surface that's down the panel that's down towards the surface.

That panel only had a single payload on it and it's not an operational payload. It's a static payload.

And that one, we're still going to try to take a picture of that payload if we can and that would be those objectives of taking a photograph of that art cube that's on that panel and that one that's pointed towards the surface of the of the moon.

So we're going to try to download all the pictures and see if we got that picture in view. Tim, any more insight?

We also have some inertial measurement unit data. We've turned a lot of the flight instrumentation off on the vehicle for power management purposes, but before we did, we were able to get some packets and measure lunar gravity.

And most of that lunar gravity was in the Z direction on that model, which is up along fairly close to level.

There is something whether we run into a slope, which would also explain a tip over if there's more slope than we anticipated at touchdown.

So the inertial measurement unit gives a very strong indication that this is up and those sensors are very, very explicit.

So it's a confirmation of what we're seeing from the tanks.

Exactly what the material is that's underneath the lander is something we hope to get some imagery from over the next coming days and find out more.

Where is eager to see those images as the public is?

Yeah, and I would add in terms of the technology payloads, we've already gotten data along the way to say they've been successful, right?

So the radio frequency mass gauge has been working since long, you know, soon as we got into a lower orbit and going on the way.

So we've gotten data all along that way, as well as during the descent, which we're still waiting for telemetry on that.

The navigation Doppler relied our, we got that real time going down so we know that worked very well in successful aspect of it, right?

The scalps, the stereo cameras, we're waiting for the pictures to come back there, but, you know, everything else seems to be working very well.

So we anticipate that that worked well during the descent, as well, and just waiting for the data to come back to to analyze the see how that went.

So a lot of the payloads have already been successfully demonstrated.

Yeah, and this is Joel.

What I'd say is that, additional what person Tim said about the fact that so much data was acquired during transit out to the moon,

along the lunar orbit and descent, of course, will evaluate that there's any particular measurements that we can take because of the vehicle configuration, but in general, we expect to get a lot of data and a lot of measurements from the instruments, both science and technology.

Yeah, I haven't added that to, you know, the NDL is a perfect example of a problem solved, but the radio frequency mass gauge was also something that we used for a problem avoided.

We had a temperature sensor on one of our tanks, and we fly cryogenic fluids are very, very cold for propellant, and a temperature sensor was recording, reporting back colder than we had anticipated.

Well, that could have been indicative of a leak, and so we were beginning to spin up some contingencies. Well, what if we have a leak? What do we do?

But because we had the Radio Frequency Mass Gauge, we were able to confirm that our tank masses were stable, and we just had a little bit of an anomalous sensor reading, and that avoided a problem, and we didn't spend more energy going through that.

So that technology is one that maybe isn't quite as dramatic as a late orbit software reboot, but nonetheless gave us confidence going through the mission.

Great. Thank you so much for your insight on that. Next up, we have Ken Chang with the New York Times. Ken?

Yes, hi. Thank you. I was wondering, I guess, for Tim and Steve, sort of a TikTok of what happened after lunar assertion.

It looked like the orbit was lower than what was in the press kit, and then you had another burn that evening, and then you avoided the BOI burn, and then you had to, it moved up the launch of the landing time.

So I was wondering what the very orbits were and how that affected the landing time. And also, when did you find out that you had a bum laser altimeter?

I missed the last part. I'll start with the first part. Kenneth, do you want to ask the last part again?

When did you find out that you had a bum laser altimeter?

Yeah, I want it. Okay, laser altimeter. So the first part of the question was about the lunar orbit insertion, and what happened after that, right?

If I understand your question right, well, we were having some difficulty with communications around the world communicating from the different configurations and the different dishes that we had around the world up to our radios.

And we have quesonics radios and talus alenia radios, and some of those that talus alenia radios have a range beacon, and we have a frequency that we know a carrier frequency that we're operating on.

And some of the dishes were smaller around the world. So in certain parts of the world, we had a weaker signal, and we were lose that carrier lock, and when that carrier lock goes down, you can't get a good orbit determination.

And there was a shift in the ranging beacon, so that shift and that turnaround ratio and the ranging beacon is such that you had some inaccuracy.

So we got the best data we could possibly get going into our lunar orbit insertion burn, but what we found was that was slightly elliptical. Actually, it was elliptical, not highly elliptical, but it was elliptical orbit.

And so we were not comfortable necessarily with the proximity to the south pole area. We were a little too close for our own comfort.

So we decided to come in and do a raise of our parallel position, and we did that very quickly, autonomously, and put us in a safer configuration for the mission and be prepared.

And that burn, we did in such a way that it eliminated the need for a deorbit insertion burn, a very small burn, before we did a powered decent.

And then we were looking at our position around the moon, we decided to take a laser rangefinder, power it on, and paying the surface to see how close we were because we were having trouble with this orbit determination and this Doppler measurement that we were trying to get.

And we saw that that laser didn't fire, and what we found was that there's a safety enable switch, because it's not an eye-safe laser, that safety enable switch is in the box and was not disabled.

So it's like having a safety on a firearm. It's for ground processing, and that was an oversight on our part, and so those laser rangefinders could not be turned on, and we couldn't manipulate that enable switch or disable switch with the software.

So those rangefinders had been tested and would have worked if we had caught that oversight and removed that enable before, or disabled before flight.

So I think that got your question. Tim, anything to add on that?

No, that's right. I think the key thing was we have an incredible flight dynamics team who were able to determine that from the orbit we were in, we could raise parallel with a lunar correction maneuver that they had built in with the foresight to trim the orbit.

If we had some unexpected conditions, and it basically put us into our decent orbit, about four or five revs before we normally would have done that.

But the orbit still phased over the landing site in the right way, and gave us a great opportunity to execute power descent.

Thank you so much for that. Lauren Grush with Bloomberg.

Hi, thank you so much for taking my question. I think this might be for Steve or Tim. I'm curious if you've been able to determine if the tipping damage the lander at all based on the rock that it's leaning on.

Is there any concern of further degradation because of the position that it's in? Thanks.

Well, again, Lauren, we're hopeful to get pictures and really do an assessment of the structure and assessment of all the external equipment.

We are hopeful that the top deck solar array is not damaged and that as the sun comes around, the lander will be able to get some power generation from the top deck solar array, which is now vertical.

And so we'll see what that means. But so far, we have quite a bit of operational capability, even though we're tipped over.

And that's that's really exciting for us. And we're continuing the surface operations mission as a result of it.

Thank you. Next up, we have Andrea Lynefelser with the Houston Chronicle, Andrea.

Hi, these questions are for Tim Crane.

That final order you took, I just want to make sure that was specifically to implement the software past use NASA's lidar tech demo for landing.

Also, Tim on Twitter or excuse me, you mentioned a big role maneuver. Was this part of the plan? If not, what caused the role of maneuver and did that create any complications?

And finally, somebody who walked us through some of the communication issue just right after landing.

Was it difficult to get a signal because it was at an angle or was other challenges related to being on the south pole? Thank you.

Thanks, Andrea. I did not catch the first part of your question. Could you, could you repeat that?

Sorry, the first part was, you know, that final orbit that you took, that kind of pushed back the landing. Was that specifically to implement the software patch that helps you land with the NASA's lidar tech demo?

Yes. Okay. Thanks. It was. We were, we were in good positions to land at approximately 330.

But the procedures that Steve was talking about, what order do we bring down the flight control, the guidance? Do we inhibit RCS? How do we do that in such a way that there's no unexpected consequence on the vehicle?

For example, if we turned off guidance navigation and control, but didn't turn off the RCS control valves, they could listen to noise on the computer instead of controls to zero, and we could open up the valves and lose control.

So we were very, very deliberate about working through in what we call a flat sat, which is basically this spacecraft equipment laid out in a lab driven by a simulation.

We were very deliberate about working that procedure so that when we shut the software down, we could bring it back up safely and there was no harm to the vehicle.

We had the patch ready in time for the first landing attempt. We hadn't come to a satisfactory procedure yet, and we had to get it right.

And so Steve and I conferred it would be a little bit more fuel to catch the the or board once around.

But again, our flight dynamics and automation team had written software that gave us a great amount of flexibility, the control Odysseus.

And we're really at a special time in our lunar program into it machines where most of our operators are also the subject matter experts who built these systems.

We had incredible insight what was going on. We had great confidence we could make this work, but we needed a little bit more time.

And so we made the call to abort once around and implemented the patch at that time so that when we had that final orbit, we were in high confidence of landing.

The role maneuver at the end, we had made some decisions, you know, every vehicle has a mass limit and you're trying to optimize performance versus mass.

We had flown a vehicle with fixed antenna. And in order to fly with fixed antenna, we had to look at what our landing orientation was.

At the south pole, we landed. In fact, you'll see in this model, there's white, white paint on some surfaces and black paint on others.

That's because we were going to land on the south near the south pole. And the sun was going to illuminate the solar arrays, as you can imagine.

And then also these white surfaces to reject heat. But on the other side, we have the cold side and it gets very, very cold if you're not in direct sunlight on the moon.

So we painted that black to catch reflected light off the moon and warm them up. So as we were coming down, we wanted our navigation cameras pointed to the ground.

Then we wanted our navigation cameras pointed to the ground after we pitched over, but in landing, we had a planned role maneuver to bring our antennas to face the earth.

And so in order to accommodate that, we had a planned role maneuver. It was not unexpected that the role maneuver would occur.

It was also expected that there would be a loss of communications as we switched from our one, two antenna pair to our three, four antenna pair.

Thank you so much for that. Next up, we have Chris Davenport from the Washington Post. Chris?

Thanks, everyone. For Tennessee, just regarding that audible, you had to make up. And I'm going to see if I can come down to some of the chronologies to get a sense of how the day unfolded for you yesterday.

About what time is it that you realized that that laser rangefinder wasn't working? And then did you immediately know that you could go to the NBL system? Was this something you had planned on as a contingency?

Or did you kind of make this up on the fly and decide to work on it in real time yesterday? Thanks.

I'll start and Tim will add a lot of color to this because this one was like Gina asked was the Hail Mary issue.

When we went around the night before and we made that laser rangefinder measurement, it looked like the laser fired.

We got an enable in the data, but when we did a deeper analysis of it, it was not actually fired. It was an error in the telemetry.

So when we dug into it, that morning, this was the morning of landing, we called NDA and asked them what they thought about it and could we convert that physical enable switch to a software change to command that switch.

And they indicated no, there's a physical cutout for this and not a software driven cutout for this.

So we now, I came into the control room. I can laugh about it now. And Tim was on console as the mission director. And I said, Tim, we're going to have to land without laser rangefinders.

And his face got absolutely white because it was like a punch in the stomach that we were going to lose the mission.

And we went around and we said, what are we going to do? We started to hack into the OS, the operating system and the laser rangefinder to see if there was a way we could trick it some way.

We thought about running a simulated table of the powered descent phase and like predict with like some parameters, how we might land.

And there's just way too much variables, way too many variables in that running a simulation table in against the real world situation.

So that wasn't going to work. And so Tim and I were walking through the halls and trying to find the experts. And he came up with the idea that says, why don't we just plumb the high beam laser and the low beam laser from the NDL into the registers for the HRN laser rangefinders.

He came up with that while we're walking down the hall in a hurried way. And it only would work if we ingested the range measurement in the nav application.

And we had done that because we had worked with the team at Langley for so long with the NASA Doppler LiDAR that we were able to have that instrument in shadow mode to give them better quality data.

And because it was in shadow mode, we had that measurement in the navigation application. And it was just a brilliant piece of insight by Dr. Crane to say, let's clear the register and put those two lasers in as the actual makeshift laser rangefinders.

So that's kind of how it unfolded. And we needed more time. So we delayed and took the risk and said, let's delay an orbit and switch to a later landing time.

Because the landing time was originally around 323 or 324 and we delayed till 524 as you know, based on a two hour orbit around the moon. So Tim, anything else?

Yeah, it sounds easy and retrospect. We had the navigation Doppler LiDAR already plumbed in the navigation system and had the range rate data.

So the three beams on the NDL produce a velocity measurement as person did talked about. They also produce a range measurement. And we were not using the range measurement. We had just the range rate as a backup to our optical systems.

But because it was already plumbed in there, we had to rewrite those rewrite time tags into our measurement loader. But the challenge was the lasers.

So we have these two navigation pods on the vehicle if you can zoom in there. Maybe, maybe not.

Anyways, there are these two navigation pods that have the cameras. There you go. Two navigation pods on either side of the vehicle that have cameras and the laser rangefinders point in the same direction as the cameras.

And those angles were optimized for our flight trajectory to give us the best measurements to land softly.

The NDL was under one of these and its angles are optimized to test the extent of its performance, not necessarily to feed our navigation system, but to test the sensor because it was a technology development.

So after we figured out we could write the measurements into the laser rangefinder, we had to quickly tell the computer that the laser beams were pointed in different directions.

And so there were a number of attitude transformations of it's not in the same location, it's not in the same orientation.

And if you've ever seen engineers doing right hand rule transformations, there were a lot of broken risks put it down here as people were trying to figure out which way is it pointing.

And I will tell you that in normal software development for a spacecraft, this is the kind of thing that would have taken a month of writing down the math, cross checking it with your colleagues, doing some simple calculations to prove that you think you're right.

You're putting it into a simulation, running that simulation 10,000 times evaluating performance. Usually you find an error because you did something that rotation wrong and you roll it back and you go again.

Our team basically did that in an hour and a half and it worked.

So it was one of the finest pieces of engineering I've ever had a chance to be affiliated with.

And I'd like to add to that that the performance of the navigation Doppler leader technology and experiment parallel that was developed by NASA's Langley Research Center was outstanding and it was reliable.

And that's what got got into the machine some of the key data they needed in order to solve.

Great. Thank you so much for that. Eric Berger with ours technical Eric.

Hi. Thanks very much. Congratulations. It could question for two questions for Tim or Steve.

First of all about propellant management. I'm curious how the crowd genic boil off matched up with your expectations and kind of how much prop you had left the end.

And then what is the transfer data transfer that you're getting now versus what you expected, you know, trying to get some sense of how much data you're going to get back over the next week or so versus your original expectations. Thanks.

Propelant. So actually the the cryogens did very well and just a correction our system doesn't really have boil off our tanks are rated to hold the pressure of the methane.

It's very close to space storeable. Really what we're worried about isn't a propellant boil off. It is temperature management.

We want to keep that cryogenic fluid very cold because the density of that fluid in our engine is what gives us the power of that thrust system.

Really what we were looking at throughout the flight was did our insulation plan and our isolation of the cryogenic tanks from the hot material is spacecraft.

Did that give us the right thermal protection so that we did not heat that cold system of the networks very well.

We found ourselves in a very good situation with propellant all the way through the mission.

We did have we use a little bit more helium than we thought throughout the mission and had to adjust our our control approach for that.

And that was probably the area of concern we run a little bit low on helium. So a lot of lessons learned there on how we'll manage that going forward that will play out very well.

In terms of the bandwidth that's difficult to answer. One of the things that's happening right now we built fault detection technology into our comm system.

That if we're not getting a command heartbeat up on two of the antenna pair it will go through a sequence of power and the radios off restarting them.

And then if they still don't get the heartbeat command signal from the from the earth then it switches to the other antenna pair.

And so one of the first things we're trying to do is get out of that flight configuration and stay locked in on two antennas.

But with that flip flopping back and forth right now we're we're trying to get the command up to move out of that flight mode.

But there's a beat frequency of we go from a good configuration to one that's down and then we're about to come up to the new one and we move to a new antenna.

And so we're working through that when we left to come over for the briefing if they just about had that solve.

But I can't give you a strong number because there's a variability there as we go from different antennas to different dishes around the world.

Great thanks again Jeff Faust with Space News Jeff.

Good afternoon, maybe just to quickly follow up on Eric's question for Tim.

What is your best guess that how good data rate you can eventually get once you optimize the system for the land or its configuration?

And then also I think this question was asked earlier and may have missed the answer.

What's your best guess in terms of margin of error of how close you are to the predicted landing site? How many kilometers away do you think you touched now?

Thank you.

Yeah, great questions. Thanks Jeff.

Best guess, you know, in terms of bit rate, that's hard to say because that does vary with the antenna size and the sensitivity of each antenna.

But we expect to get most of the mission data down once we stabilize our configuration.

In terms of landing accuracy, you know, without precision navigation sensors on board,

the best you can expect to land on an IMU-only landing system would probably be in the four to five kilometer range.

However, our optical navigation sensors perform flawlessly.

In fact, our optical measurements looked better on the scopes than they had in simulations.

So I'm confident that we're well within probably a two to three kilometer accuracy of the landing site for this mission.

What have been better if we'd had our full complement of sensors as expected?

And just as a closing point, Jeff, on this question is that we're planning working with the lunar reconnaissance orbiter and the Arizona State University faculty to do a pass to see if LRO can locate our position precisely and give us a latitude and longitude.

And we expect that measurement that pass to occur this weekend.

Thank you so much for that. Joey, we're with Reuters. Joey?

Hey, thanks for doing this question for Tim or Steve.

Since the lander's on its side, I was wondering if you could go into how that will limit what the lander can do with, you know, which operational capabilities are impacted by that.

And which, you know, science objectives, if any, won't be able to be conducted because it's on its side. Thanks.

Well, a comment initially, like I mentioned, we don't have active payloads on the panel E, I believe, is what's facing the surface of the moon.

And so therefore, the active payloads that need communications and need to give off, we need to command and get the telemetry out are all exposed to the outside, which is very fortunate for us.

And we do have antenna, however, that are pointed at the surface, and those antennas are unusable for transmission to the Earth, back to Earth.

And so that really is a limiter, our ability to communicate and get the right data down so that, you know, we get everything we need for the mission, I think is the most compromised from being on our side.

Anything I missed him? No, that was it.

Well, maybe one, I just thought of his, I was telling you before about the solar panel on the top deck.

We had had to angle that at about 30 degrees till up for landing on the South Pole.

That was one of the engineering changes we made when NASA asked us to move towards the South Pole region.

Now, we've tipped over and we don't know the health of that solar panel.

It would be great to get a picture and or wait until the sun comes around and see if we get any battery charging off of that solar panel.

So we'll see we're in a great state of charge with the batteries.

We're getting plenty of sun on the, on the horizontal, and now, horizontal solar panel.

And we'll just have to wait and see with that, that other panel.

Thank you so much. Jonathan Sury, Fox News.

Thank you for taking my question and congratulations, everyone.

My question is also for Tim or Steve.

Your team had to essentially rewrite the instruction manual several times while in flight, not just for troubleshooting,

but also adapting to first and space performance of that new engine.

Could you give us an idea of how many people were involved with the process?

And did the discussions take place in a single war room or were you conferencing in experts from multiple locations?

Just give us an idea of the human logistics involved.

So I'll give you a rough overview and Tim can comment kind of how it went over the seven day period.

The operations team was structured into three shifts, red, white, and blue shift.

Those shifts were supposed to work eight hour shifts and then do a handover between shifts between those teams.

Those teams are about ten individuals and the other team that we activated was called team four.

And the team four was a handful of us senior leaders that and engineers that could analyze and take the workload off of the operations teams.

So if the operations teams are wrestling with a particularly thorny problem, they would call team four and say get in here and let's work on this work on this for us and give us a solution.

So we would pull in the subject matter experts for any of the disciplines that we would need to solve any particular problem and we would work in a war room sense outside the control room to tackle that problem.

We would have, for example, to activate and bring up the simulation or activate and bring up the flat set.

We would run analysis cases. We would call the vendors like we called the MDA about the laser-age finders.

We called NASA and talked about the deep space network with that orbit determination need.

So all of that chatter in the back, that was handled by, I would say about 30 people that would work a given problem on and off based on the discipline.

But what had happened during the mission was that red, white and blue team and the teams and team four ended up working nearly around the clock.

We really could have staffed more, but it takes a lot of expertise to staff those teams and we ended up kind of melding into we're all working on this last problem through power descent.

And we collapsed into a single red, white and blue team all of it to get that solved, which we're going to go back and look at and see, you know, we really, really worked the team hard.

They put a lot of hours in. I think one of the longest days was 48 hours long.

Another day was 40 hours long for some of the folks and that's, you know, just working too hard and we need to give them rest so they can be bright and make the right engineering decisions.

So we got some lessons learned in that area, but we did it and it was worth it and it was a whole idea of persevering through the challenges and never giving up, never, ever give up until the last ditch solution you could find and then keep thinking about it if it didn't work.

So just a testament to great operations team.

Yeah, I'll add to that, you know, our operations concept was a blend of human space light for space station and space shuttle.

We have, you know, that's in our culture here in the Houston area. Some of us had worked on the Elhat Morpheus project at NASA, which was in some way has the DNA that led into Nova C.

We had people with a military operations background and then we had people from commercial network operations.

And so we put all of that together and we came up with our own unique blend of how we were going to spacecraft operations.

And a big focus of that was the people inside the room on the red, white and blue teams keep the vehicle alive, keep the vehicle alive and doing what it's supposed to do.

And then all the mission directors, myself, Jack, two fish, Fisher and Trent Martin, we have the responsibility to interface with team four.

And we would be able to say, I have this problem. I can't solve it with the resources I have in the room and do what we're supposed to do.

And so we would shed those out to team four and they did an amazing job, whether it was talking to the vendors or developing a procedure.

They took that off the plate and that load balance, even though he's right, you know, I joke this morning that, you know, how is your day?

So this mission was the longest seven day day of my life.

But it really, it really allowed us to focus on keeping the vehicle alive and keeping it moving on its way to the moon and doing the things we needed to do while problems and anomalies could be solved in the back room.

And, you know, this is a story that everybody on that team is going to be able to tell for generations about how we landed.

Irene Klotz, Aviation Week. Your line is open.

Thanks. If I understand that incredible sequence of events correctly, was it your serendipity that a situation developed with that elliptical orbit that caused you to try and get the laser rain finder data where you realized it wasn't working before it would have actually been needed?

And when during the touchdown, would that laser rain finder nominally have been activated?

I think I understood Irene the question. It was actually fortuitous that we had an elliptical orbit after lunar orbit insertion.

Because we would not have arbitrarily activated the laser range finders prior to powered descent.

We tested them on the ground, we flew them on aircraft, we flew them on helicopters, and we assumed after all that testing they worked.

So the first usage of those laser range finders was supposed to be during the powered descent.

But because we had such a low paralleloon, we activated the laser and found the problem.

So that was fortunate and that was a bit of luck for us that then we identified that they weren't firing.

So at that point, then that was recovered. Like I said, at the next morning, we uncovered that.

And then we had to work feverishly to figure out an alternative solution.

Anything there, Tim?

Yeah, just the second part, Irene, your question of when would they normally have come on?

Normally, we would have turned them on after a deorbit insertion about an hour before landing.

And we expected the, what we call the terrain relative, navigation, LiDAR, the laser range finder.

That would have operated really from about 50 kilometers altitude all the way down the landing.

And then after pitchover, we had a laser on the other side that would take us from a kilometer down.

So we would have probably been five minutes to landing before we would have realized that those lasers weren't working if we had not had that fortuitous event.

So serendipity is absolutely the right word.

Jackie Wiles, CNN.

Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for doing this.

I had a question for Steve or Tim. I know everyone's really curious about the photos here.

So do you guys have any indication of Nicole Tam? Is it in a position to pop off the lander and take some pictures?

And to that end, if you could just clarify for all of us, are there any specific payloads, whether commercial or NASA, I know some of them are passive.

And you're still working on figure out these data down links and stuff.

But are there any that you know for sure or just haven't gotten any data yet?

And don't know if you will get data from. Thanks so much.

Well, fortunately, again, Eaglecam sits on a panel. Let me, let me joke, Tim.

If the panel E, I believe is towards the surface of the moon, Eaglecam sits over here on this panel and we plan to eject that camera off the side.

So it will fall about 30 meters or so. Maybe not that far away from the lander and get a good shot of the lander position this way.

So we're looking to power up that Eaglecam. We were waiting on getting commanding ability. Power that up. Clear that SD card and fire the camera.

And so we can get a view back to our lander. So that's a very exciting image for us.

The reason it wasn't fired as we were landing was because of this nav system initialization that we had to do, which put a flag up to flag the Eaglecam not to fire.

So that was part of the troubleshooting we had to do to get the Doppler LiDAR into the nav system.

We had to do these navigation initializations and that shut off the Eaglecam.

And we knew that was in the software, but we just did not have time to go fix that.

And so now we'll get it and get the image in the orientation that we need.

So the other question you had about commercial payloads, we think we can meet all of the needs and from the commercial payloads that we have in the orientation we have.

One on panel E that's covered right now or shaded by the lander and the surface is the art cube project.

And we believe we've got an image of that already that we can download and share with our art customer.

I'll add that for the NASA science payloads, as we said earlier, the many of them have already taken a lot of data, a lot of measurements in transit and also on decent.

We're still checking to see if in the current suspected orientation of the vehicle, whether there will be any particular measurements that can't be made in some of the payloads.

So for example, we want to make sure that the laser retroreflectors, which are normally pointed up so that when the lunar reconnaissance orbit applies over, it can pulse them with a laser beam and find their position.

We'll have to check to make sure that they can still be illuminated.

They probably can be when the orbiters fought is flying it at a further angle away on the trajectory.

Very similar to what we found with the recent slim landing from the Japanese space exploration agency.

But we are doing an assessment to see are there any measurements still to come from any of the NASA supplied payloads that most likely can't take place, particularly because of this new orientation?

Great. Thank you so much for that. Will Robinson Smith, first piece right now. Will?

Yes, hi. Thanks for taking the time to answer questions here. One for Joel and for son, if I could.

Given the success and now the operability of the NGL, will that become a highly recommended or required payload on future eclipse missions?

And what are the potential implications or not going to affect for the human landing system landers?

Will NASA recommend that Blue Origin and SpaceX implement that into their landing systems? Thanks.

I'll take a shot for Son, please, please add.

So for a commercial lunar payload services initiative, we don't prescribe to the company partners that are doing this as a service.

You know what techniques or technologies they use, but as you can imagine, all these different companies are always looking for low risk, good performance ways to gather the data or conduct the operations that they are going to conduct for NASA.

So we, I'm sure that the story, as you can tell now is very public about, about things like the performance of the NGL.

And we would think that people that are looking at lunar landers would be checking into that technology now that it's actually been flight proven operationally on probably the unanticipated flight test mission, right?

I actually use it operationally.

I would say the same thing, you know, the human lander system partners have their own techniques and their own approaches that they're taking.

But again, now that this has been actually shown to operationally work, I would think it's going to be of great interest to folks that want to travel to the moon for some.

Yeah, I'll add, you know, we've actually did NASA has already licensed this technology to a small company to commercially provide this to whoever wants to buy it, right?

And so this only adds more validation of the system.

There's just a technical reason to add it, right?

Beyond the aspects that Joel talked about because it is an order magnitude more accurate in precision and measurement of range and velocity components.

It's half the power, half the mass of the traditional approaches that we've used in the past.

And the volume and some of the signs is about a third of it.

So if you just look at it from a technical perspective, it just provides all these benefits.

And so I'm sure future vendors will look at this type of capability, a new and try to incorporate these types of technologies.

And that's why we're doing these missions, right?

It is to develop better and better capable systems that allow us to do this more reliably, more capable and hopefully more sustainably and more cost efficient wise.

So in fact, after the landing, I did joke with Steve there, it's like, hey, are you ready for IM2?

Because we have three payloads already ready to go and IM2, right?

So we're ready to demonstrate even more stuff that will help the greater space economy that burges in here in the U.S.

And we just want to augment that as much as possible we can with what we're doing.

Yeah, I'll chime in as well.

You know, as you look forward to future missions, and as we begin delivering cargo missions with a metric ton and more, you know, those payloads get more and more valuable.

And as those payloads get more and more valuable, we're going to have to prove to our customers that we have robustness in our landing systems.

One of the ways you achieve robustness is with redundancy or with the similar redundancy.

So having two ways of measuring that landing, we had a camera system on board.

But if you have a camera system and a laser system, one might fail in a way that the other one might not.

So I can see that as the lunar economy opens up, as NASA begins to send cargo and larger, more expensive payloads with companies like ours and others, that you're going to see demand for these kinds of sensors, complementing a suite of sensors that you used to guarantee safe landing is going to be something that will be an industry standard.

Thank you for that.

We're going to try and take two more questions.

So I'm going to ask you guys to be brief in your remarks so we can get through these questions.

First up, we have Marcia Smith with spacepolicyonline.com, Marcia.

Thanks so much.

Getting back to the communications question, I gather that part of the challenges that you have so many different sites around the world with different capabilities.

But I know that you would talk before you launched about the challenges of communicating at the South Pole.

So how much of the common problems are related to the ground stations and how much to the place where you are on the moon?

And what lessons are you going to learn from all of this for the Artemis missions?

Yeah, I'll answer some of that question.

What you get is a phenomenon at the South Pole that NASA is interested in understanding since that's where our future Artemis missions are targeted or NASA's future Artemis missions are targeted.

Is a frequency multi-path condition?

And so are you going to get multi-path interference on your communication frequencies?

Fortunately, we think the antennas that are pointed towards the moon will give us a really good understanding of that phenomenon at the South Pole, another serendipitous moment.

But I would say that we thought about the landing on the South Pole quite a bit.

And if you look at the mockup, all the antennas are up high and pointed towards Earth when you're sitting on the surface of the moon.

In transit, it's very difficult.

You have to constantly change your attitude to point the antennas back to Earth when you're headed to the moon.

So we're going to figure out an antenna location map for subsequent missions and even mission two that gives us a antenna pointed back at the Earth when we're flying out towards the moon.

For sure.

Also, in this first ever use of our lunar data network, this commercially now available data network made up of these large radio astronomy dishes that we've stitched together in a network.

Some of those dishes have had configuration issues.

Some of those dishes have had a weaker power band.

So we can all operate on this frequency, S-band set of frequencies.

However, the power to reach the moon is what came into account as we went around and out towards the moon the further we got.

Sometimes those power transmission levels were too low to have us keep the carrier locked up on the radios.

So that was some of the challenges and that's what we're looking for going forward is to really regularize that lunar data network so that operationally we know the configuration.

We can go upgrade to put additional orbit determination capabilities within our baseband units at each antenna site.

And the best thing will be when we get our data relay satellites in orbit, we'll have that problem licked and we can communicate short distance from the surface up to a satellite and relay that back to Earth in a more traditional way.

So looking forward to those advances in the communication system.

Thank you and we have one last question we can take this afternoon with Adam Mann from Science. Adam.

Hi there. I'm with science news actually and I guess this is her Intuitive Machine spoke and wondering maybe you've answered this already, but I'm just wondering if you have any idea how long Odie might be able to stay operational on lunar surface.

Well, it's a great question and you're going to bring a tear to my eye.

We know at this landing site the sun will move beyond our solar arrays in any configuration in approximately nine days.

And so the early missions are all solar powered and require that and then once the sun sets on Odie, the batteries will attempt to keep the vehicle warm and alive.

But eventually it'll fall into a deep cold and then the electronics that we produce just won't survive the deep cold of lunar night.

And so best case scenario, we're looking at another nine to ten days and then we will, of course, the next time the sun illuminates the solar arrays will turn our dishes to the moon just to see if the radios and the batteries and the flight computer survived that deep cold.

The solar array should they should survive the deep cold and provide power, but we'll just see if our electronics made it through.

We'll take a look. We'll take a listen by that time. We'll have gotten very, very good at listening to that signal, but we do expect probably a maximum of another nine to ten days.

Thank you so much, Tim. And thank you to everyone who submitted questions this afternoon and thank you to our briefers for taking the time to discuss this historic mission enabled by the agencies.

Commercial lunar payload services or CLPS initiative. We hope you'll continue to follow along on this mission by keeping track on Intuitive Machines' website and on nasa.gov/CLPS.

That will wrap today's briefing. Thank you so much.

Thank you.


[2.28.2024] NASA, Intuitive Machines give update on Odysseus moon lander mission [largely unedited transcript]


February 25, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

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LUNR’s flagship product is the Nova-C lunar lander, a versatile and reliable spacecraft that can carry up to 100 kg of payload to any location on the Moon. Nova-C is also equipped with a state-of-the-art communications system, the Lunar Data Network (LDN), which provides high-speed data transmission and relay services for near-space missions. LDN is the first of its kind, and will enable unprecedented scientific and commercial opportunities on the lunar frontier.


LUNR’s first mission, IM-1, is scheduled to launch in mid-February 2024, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. IM-1 will be the first commercial lunar landing, and the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972. IM-1 will carry five NASA payloads, as well as two commercial payloads from the Japanese company ispace and the Canadian company Canadensys. IM-1 will land near the south pole of the Moon, a region of high scientific and economic interest, where water ice and other resources are abundant.


IM-1 is not only a historic milestone, but also a key step towards creating a sustainable human presence on the Moon. The science and technology payloads on board IM-1 will pave the way for future human missions, as well as the development of a lunar base and a lunar economy.  LUNR’s vision is to open access to the Moon for the progress of humanity, and to enable scientific and human exploration and utilization of lunar resources.


LUNR is not just a lunar company, though. It is also a leader in orbital services, space products, and space domain awareness. LUNR leverages its domain expertise and innovations to provide solutions for orbital servicing, debris removal, rideshares, and nuclear-powered satellites. LUNR’s portfolio of space products includes propulsion systems, avionics, software, and sensors. LUNR also provides space domain awareness services, such as tracking and monitoring of space objects, to enhance the safety and security of space operations.


LUNR is a company with a proven track record, a strong team, and a bold vision. LUNR was founded in 2013 by former NASA engineers and executives, who have over 250 combined years of experience in aerospace. LUNR has grown to over 200 employees, and has filed 27 inventions. LUNR has also received numerous awards and recognitions, such as the NASA Group Achievement Award, the NASA Exceptional Public Achievement Medal, and the Fast Company World Changing Ideas Award.


LUNR is a company that is ready to make a difference in the space industry, and in the world. LUNR is a company that is worth investing in, if you want to be part of the next lunar revolution. LUNR is the future of space exploration, and the future is now. Don’t miss this opportunity to ride with LUNR to the Moon and beyond.


LUNR stock has a strong buy rating from four analysts with 60+% accuracy, with a mid-level estimate price target of $10.00.


Cantor Fitzgerald raises price target to $13 from $4 a share



IM-1 Press Kit v1.3 (flippable pages): https://online.flippingbook.com/view/400873756 - sourced from: https://www.intuitivemachines.com/_files/ugd/7c27f7_51f84ee63ea744a9b7312d17fefa9606.pdf


A list of 8 U.S. patents granted to Intuitive Machines LLC, a space exploration company based in Houston, Texas: 

Lunar Lander with Integrated Propulsion System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that uses a single propulsion system for both orbit insertion and landing maneuvers, reducing mass and complexity. The propulsion system consists of a main engine and four thrusters that can be independently controlled and gimbaled to provide thrust and attitude control. The patent claims that this design can increase the payload capacity and reliability of the lunar lander, as well as simplify the mission planning and execution.

Lunar Lander with Integrated Payload Module. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a detachable payload module that can be deployed on the lunar surface, allowing for multiple payloads to be delivered by a single lander. The payload module can also communicate with the lander and other modules via a wireless network, enabling data exchange and coordination. The patent claims that this design can reduce the cost and complexity of lunar missions, as well as increase the flexibility and scalability of lunar exploration.

Lunar Lander with Integrated Solar Array. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a foldable solar array that can be deployed after landing, providing power for the lander and the payload module. The patent claims that this design can extend the mission duration and capabilities of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the dependency on batteries and fuel cells.

Lunar Lander with Integrated Communications System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a high-gain antenna and a low-gain antenna that can communicate with Earth and other spacecraft, providing reliable and secure data transmission. The patent claims that this design can enhance the scientific and commercial value of lunar missions, as well as enable future lunar networks and services.

Lunar Lander with Integrated Navigation System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a guidance, navigation, and control system that uses sensors, cameras, and algorithms to autonomously land on the lunar surface, avoiding hazards and achieving high accuracy. The patent claims that this design can increase the safety and reliability of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the complexity and cost of the landing system.

Lunar Lander with Integrated Thermal Control System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a passive and active thermal control system that regulates the temperature of the lander and the payload module, ensuring optimal performance and survival in the harsh lunar environment. The patent claims that this design can increase the mission duration and capabilities of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the power consumption and mass of the thermal system.

Lunar Lander with Integrated Power System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a power system that uses batteries, fuel cells, and solar panels to provide electrical power for the lander and the payload module, enabling long-duration missions and operations. The patent claims that this design can increase the mission duration and capabilities of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the power consumption and mass of the power system.

Lunar Lander with Integrated Landing Legs. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has integrated landing legs that can absorb shock and provide stability on the lunar surface. The patent claims that this design can increase the safety and reliability of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the mass and complexity of the landing system.


More re: Intuitive Machines' patents:

Intuitive Machines has over 100 patents and patent applications in various fields, such as lunar landers, orbital services, propulsion systems, and additive manufacturing, its patent portfolio is one of its key competitive advantages and sources of revenue.

February 1, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)