Private American spacecraft flies to the moon

Private American spacecraft flies to the moon

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In addition to Astrobotic’s failed effort, two other private initiatives folded: Beresheet, run by an Israeli nonprofit, collapsed in 2019; Whereas Japanese company iSpace also had a “hard landing” last year.

Only five nations have succeeded: first the Soviet Union, then the United States, which is still the only country that has even put people to the surface.

In the long absence of the United States, China has landed three times since 2013, India in 2023, and Japan the most recent last month — though its robots are struggling to keep power on because of a strange Its solar panels had moved in the wrong direction due to touchdown. ,

Intuitive Machines has two additional launches scheduled for this year, while another Texas company, Firefly Aerospace, also has one. Astrobotic will get another shot in late 2024, taking a NASA rover to the moon’s south pole.

Unlike the Cold War, when NASA had an almost unlimited budget and contracts were fixed down to the last bolt, NASA is purchasing services rather than hardware from commercial partners.

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