Odysseus moon lander: More pictures sent back with only hours left until it dies

The first U.S. commercial moon lander, Odysseus, ended up on its side, but managed to beam back more pictures, with only hours remaining before it dies.

Intuitive Machines posted new photos of the moon’s unexplored south polar region Tuesday.

The company's lander, also known by its nickname "Odie" captured the shots last Thursday shortly before making the first U.S. touchdown on the moon in more than 50 years. 

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


On Feb. 22, 2024, Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus lunar lander captures a wide field of view image of Schomberger crater on the Moon approximately 125 miles (200 km) uprange from the intended landing site, at approximately 6 miles (10 km) altitude.(Cred

Odysseus moon lander pictures

But, Odysseus landed on its side, hampering communication and power generation.


NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this image of the Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lander, called Odysseus, on the Moon’s surface on Feb. 24, 2024, at 1:57 p.m. EST). (Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University)

Once sunlight can no longer reach the lander’s solar panels, operations will end. Intuitive Machines expects that to happen sometime between Tuesday afternoon and early Wednesday – a slightly shorter timeframe than was originally expected.

‘Odie’ lander touches down on moon

Intuitive Machines became the first private business to pull off a lunar landing, a feat achieved by only five countries. Another U.S. company, Astrobotic Technology, gave it a shot last month, but never made it to the moon, and the lander crashed back to Earth.

Previously, the U.S. had not returned to the moon’s surface since the Apollo program ended more than 50 years ago.


This image pair shows LRO views of the area surrounding the Odysseus site before and after its landing.(Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University)

Astrobotic was among the first to relay congratulations. "An incredible achievement. We can’t wait to join you on the lunar surface in the near future," the company said via X, formerly Twitter.

SpaceX launches Odysseus

Odysseus launched at 1:05 a.m. on Feb. 15 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

RELATED: SpaceX launches 'Odysseus' lunar lander, aiming for historic US moon mission

The Odysseus lunar lander was dispatched with it to the moon, some 230,000 miles away. 


Odysseus launched at 1:05 a.m. on Feb. 15 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

NASA’s first entry in its commercial lunar delivery service stumbled shortly after liftoff in early January. A ruptured fuel tank and massive leak caused the spacecraft to bypass the moon and come tearing back through the atmosphere 10 days after launching, breaking apart and burning up over the Pacific.

This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.