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MSU Space Science Center team takes a break while waiting out the lunar night

Chloe Hart and Dr. Ben Malphrus awaiting an update from NASA and Intuitive Machines.
Samantha Morrill
Chloe Hart and Dr. Ben Malphrus awaiting an update from NASA and Intuitive Machines.

After nearly seven days of pulling data from Intuitive Machine’s lunar lander, a team from the Morehead State Space Science program has earned themselves a break. The lander, called Odysseus, successfully soft-landed on the moon last week. Since then, the MSU team has been using their satellite dish to send and receive data from the lander.

Chloe Hart, the lead ground station operator at Morehead State, said the station is kind of like a mail carrier for Intuitive Machines to transmit messages.

“We receive them here at Morehead and use the 21-meter antenna to send those commands to the spacecraft. And then the spacecraft will send telemetry - either science data or health information, the orientation information that we heard earlier – to us and we deliver that back to the customer. Just like the mailman, we don’t get to look in the mail, but we get it to the moon and back,” said Hart.

Odysseus, nicknamed Odie, has been powered down to wait out the lunar night. Hart said their break will not be long though, Intuitive Machines is going to attempt to turn the lander back on in mid-March.

“We’ll be here, we’ll be standing by in our mission operations center. I believe we have a 14-hour day planned on that day when it’s planned to wake back up. So, we will be here and we will be listening for Odie,” said Hart.

If Intuitive Machines successfully wakes Odysseus up on March 16, Hart said the MSU team will once again be on the night shift, sending and receiving data as long as it’s being transmitted.

Morehead State University’s Space Science Program is also set to contract with Intuitive Machines on their second lunar lander mission in November.