NASA-backed private US company Intuitive Machines’ Moon lander launch has been delayed over methane fuel issue.

The Houston-based Intuitive IM-1 lunar lander was scheduled to lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on February 14 at 12.57 a.m. EST.

The launch “was postponed due to off-nominal methane temperatures before stepping into methane load”, NASA said in a statement.

“SpaceX and Intuitive Machines are now targeting 1.05 a.m. EST Thursday, February 15,” the agency added.

The lander aims to send Intuitive Machines’ robotic Nova-C lander “Odysseus” toward Earth’s nearest neighbor. Odysseus’ success will make it the first-ever private spacecraft to land softly on the lunar surface on February 22.

Buy Me A Coffee

“Standing down from tonight’s attempt due to off-nominal methane temperatures before stepping into methane load,” SpaceX wrote in an update on X.com.

The IM-1 mission will be the company’s first attempted lunar landing as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (“CLPS”) initiative, a key part of NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration efforts.

The science and technology payloads sent to the Moon’s surface as part of CLPS intend to lay the foundation for human missions and a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.

If successful, the mission will bring the US back to the lunar terrain after about 50 years. The US has not attempted a moon landing since Apollo 17 in December 1972.

In January, another NASA-backed company, Astrobiotic Technology’s lunar lander suffered “critical” fuel loss and could not make it to the Moon.

READ
Google Parent Alphabet Appoints Anat Ashkenazi as New CFO