Space Odyssey: The Odysseus mission with the first Nova C-class lander was launched on February 15 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, aiming to bring a slew of new scientific instruments to the Moon. The spacecraft is currently travelling in space as planned and should arrive at its destination on Thursday.

Intuitive Machines (IM) recently showed a series of images captured by the Odysseus spacecraft in space, a spectacular testimony to the fact that the mission is going as expected. The images were captured shortly after separation from the second stage of the SpaceX rocket, IM said on the social network formerly known as Twitter, providing a unique view of the Earth's surface and the Odysseus itself.

Odysseus carries the first Nova C-class developed by IM, as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) and Artemis initiatives by NASA. The space agency is working with different US private companies to deliver commercial payloads to the Moon, as a way to test new technology capabilities that could be useful to the upcoming human exploration missions.

The Nova-C lander aboard Odysseus includes several scientific tools developed by NASA, such as a demonstration of autonomous navigation on the lunar surface, a laser system for a permanent location marker on the Moon, and more. Other sensors and devices will measure how fuel consumption behaves in micro-gravity conditions, and how a spacecraft's engine plume can impact the lunar surface.

After sending the first IM-1 images from space, Intuitive Machines successfully fired the first liquid methane and liquid oxygen engine in space, completing Odysseus' mission engine commissioning. The engine firing included a "full thrust mainstage engine burn and throttle-down profile" that will be needed to land the spacecraft on the Moon, the Houston-based company said on X/Twitter.

The IM-1 Nova-C lander continues to be in excellent condition and working as expected, IM said. The spacecraft is in a stable orientation and remains on schedule for its first "lunar landing opportunity" set for February 22. The lunar orbit insertion will be executed on February 21, and IM plans to stream the landing through the IM-1 mission's official web page.

IM-1's journey through space has been successful so far, but the Moon landing will likely be the hardest part of the entire mission. Before launching the Nova-C lander aboard a SpaceX rocket, Intuitive Machines President and CEO Steve Altemus said that the dedication and hard work of the IM-1 team was instrumental in making this historical mission a reality.