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SpaceX is all set to launch Intuitive Machines IM-1 lunar mission (Updated)



SpaceX Lunar Mission Falcon 9 Flight

Update – February 14, 2024, at 00:07 EST: SpaceX is standing down from tonight’s launch due to off-nominal methane temperatures before stepping into methane load. This launch is now pushed to February 15 at 1:05 a.m.

Original Story February 13, 2024, at 01:03 ESTSpaceX is looking for a Falcon 9 launch on Wednesday, February 14 to deploy the Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission into a lunar transfer orbit.

The mission comes at Intuitive Machines’ first attempt for lunar landing under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (“CLPS”), which is a program to explore the Moon.

“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,” said the company in a press release.

Specifically, the payload carries technology instruments to focus on plume-surface interactions, space weather, radio astronomy, precision landing, communication, and navigation nodes for future autonomous navigation technologies.

The mission has a launch window at 12:57 a.m. ET and a backup opportunity is available on the next day at 1:05 a.m. ET. The liftoff will happen from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

As a pre-launch process, SpaceX will load the lunar lander with cryogenic methane and oxygen on the pad two and half hours before the company loads propellant to Falcon 9.

This mission will mark the 18th successful flight for the first stage booster to support the mission. It was previously used to send GPS III-3, Turksat 5A, Transporter-2, Intelsat G-33/G-34, Transporter 6, and 12 Starlink missions.

After hot staging, the first stage will land back on Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Based on the mission milestone, the IM-1 deployment could take 48-49 minutes after liftoff.

A launch live stream of the mission will be available on SpaceX’s official website and social media account on X.