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Intuitive Machines lands on the Moon, carrying virtual test data center

Intuitive Machines has successfully touched down on the Moon.

The company's Nova-C cargo lander 'Odysseus' is the first US spacecraft to land on the Moon since 1972. It is the first commercial spacecraft ever to land on the lunar surface.

While the company has confirmed the landing and that some comms were active, Intuitive were not able to fully confirm the status of the system at time of writing. Update: Intuitive said in a statement: "Odysseus is alive and well. Flight controllers are communicating and commanding the vehicle to download science data. The lander has good telemetry and solar charging."

Update 2: The lander is now believed to be lying on its side, after tipping over following the touchdown. The radio antennas are still pointing at Earth and solar cells continue to collect energy to charge the battery system, so the system is still operational.

– Intuitive Machines

Original story continues: “I know this was a nail-biter but we are on the surface,” said Intuitive Machines CEO Stephen Altemus. “Welcome to the Moon.”

IM-1 landed in the Malapert A crater, about 300 km from the Moon’s south pole. It plans to operate there for up to seven days.

In addition to proving the company's ability to land on the Moon, IM-1 carried a number of scientific and artistic payloads under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative.

As part of that it carried a virtual data center - a small software deployment on its existing IT infrastructure. Developed by Lonestar Data Holdings, it is the first step in a plan to build data centers on the Moon.

Lonestar sent a copy of the Declaration of Independence to the lander during its trip to the Moon. Should the landing have been fully successful, the company plans to send the Declaration to the lander and then back to Earth to test its disaster recovery service.

In the coming months, Intuitive plans to launch a second lander - IM-2 - which will include an 8TB SSD and a single Microchip PolaFire SoC FPGA.

That will be Lonestar's first lunar data center, and the company will use it to further test the concept and see how storage behaves on the surface.


This article originally appeared at

 February 26, 2024