This week marks a historic achievement in space exploration as Intuitive Machines, a private space exploration company, successfully completed the first US attempt to land a spacecraft on the Moon in more than 50 years.

Minutes before the Odysseus spacecraft lands. Minutes before the Odysseus spacecraft lands.

Minutes before the Odysseus spacecraft lands. Image credit: Intuitive

The Odysseus spacecraft was designed and launched by Houston-based Intuitive Machines. The mission not only represented the first American lunar landing in more than half a century, but also marked the first lunar touchdown by an entirely private sector.

After this significant achievement, shares of Intuitive Machines (LUNR.O) underwent an experiment. A notable additionUp 38% during pre-market trading.

Odysseus, a six-legged robotic lander, orbited the moon before beginning its final descent from lunar orbit. The descent involved a precision operation, using the spacecraft’s main engine about an hour before the expected touchdown, which was set for 6:24 p.m. EST (2324 GMT) on Thursday, according to the company. It is mentioned in the flight plan.

The successful landing of a moon landing by a private enterprise stands as a historic achievement in the ongoing exploration of celestial bodies. This achievement not only highlights progress in private space initiatives, but also signals renewed interest and determination in lunar exploration, opening up new possibilities for scientific research and possible future space missions.

Landing speed of the Odysseus spacecraft. Landing speed of the Odysseus spacecraft.

Landing speed of the Odysseus spacecraft. Image credit: Intuitive Machines

Successful touchdown

The Texas-based company’s lunar lander Odysseus completed its touchdown on Thursday at the Malapert A crater, about 300 kilometers from the moon’s south pole.

The lunar lander began its journey to the moon last Thursday, propelled by the A. Falcon 9 The rocket was launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

In response to the successful lunar landing, Musk immediately congratulated Intuitive Machines in a post on X, acknowledging the achievement. Next, Intuitive Machines confirms that its lunar lander, Odysseus, is in the upright position and begins data transfer. The company is eagerly anticipating receiving the first images taken from the lunar surface.

Before the opening bell, the company’s stock was trading at $11.43. A substantial increase in its share price is set to push the company’s market capitalization past $1 billion. Intuitive Machines debuted just over a year ago, and this achievement represents a major milestone in its relatively short history.

With only 17.9 million shares available as free float, less than 20% of the company’s outstanding stock is currently accessible for trading. This limited availability makes the stock susceptible to outside movements, as the company’s shares were among the top trending stocks.

written by Alius Norica