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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Intuitive Machines Nova-C lander takes off from the launch pad at night. The flames coming from the bottom of the rocket (the bright spot at center) light up the surrounding area, illuminating clouds of white vapor that spread outward along the ground. The light also reflects off water in the foreground. Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Intuitive Machines Launches to the Moon

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lunar lander lifts off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1:05 a.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. As part of NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) initiative and Artemis campaign, Intuitive Machines’ first lunar mission will carry NASA science and commercial payloads to the Moon to study plume-surface interactions, space weather/lunar surface interactions, radio astronomy, precision landing technologies, and a communication and navigation node for future autonomous navigation technologies.

Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

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