Moon lander Odysseus cutting short the mission five days after its sideways touchdown, Reuters reported. The mission was aborted after a severe tilt on landing near the moon’s south pole. Instead of landing in an upright position, the 4.3-meter “Odyssey” turned out to be tilted to the side, which seriously hampered communication with The Earth.

It remained to be seen how much scientific data might be lost as a result of the shortened lifespan of Odysseus, which according to previous estimates from the company and its biggest customer, NASA, was supposed to operate on the moon for seven to 10 days.

Intuitive Machines ‘s forecast for a premature end to the mission came as new details emerged about testing shortcuts and human error that led to an in-flight failure of the spacecraft’s laser-guided range finders ahead of its landing last Thursday near the moon’s south pole.

“There were certainly things we could’ve done to test it and actually fire it. They would’ve been very time-consuming and very costly. So that was a risk as a company that we acknowledged and took that risk”, Mike Hansen, the company’s head of navigation systems, told Reuters in an interview on Saturday.

The company said during its first post-landing news briefing on Friday that Odysseus caught the bottom of one of its six landing legs on the uneven lunar surface on final descent and tipped over, coming to rest horizontally, apparently propped up on a rock.
Shares of Intuitive Machines plunged 35% on Monday.

Despite its less-than-ideal touchdown, Odysseus became the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the moon since NASAs last crewed Apollo mission to the lunar surface brought astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt there in 1972.

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