Intuitive Machines nasdaq Lunr Stock Slides As Odysseus Lunar Lander Incident Unfolds

Intuitive Machines (NASDAQ: LUNR) Stock Slides as Odysseus Lunar Lander Incident Unfolds

Intuitive Machines (NASDAQ: LUNR) plunged over 30% in after-hours trading, wiping out Friday’s gains after the company reported a mishap with its lunar lander, Odysseus, during touchdown near the moon’s south pole.

The six-footed craft, initially believed to be upright, unexpectedly toppled, likely due to high speed, resulting in communication difficulties.

Shares of Intuitive Machines (NASDAQ: LUNR), which surged 260% over the last month, have taken a nosedive as news of the incident broke late Friday.

CEO Steve Altemus explained that the lander experienced a situation where it “caught a foot in the surface,” possibly resulting in a broken leg and potentially leaning against a rock.

Altemus told the Associated Press,

“So far, we have quite a bit of operational capability even though we’re tipped over.”

Altemus stated that some antennas directed toward the surface restricted flight controllers’ access to data.

The antennas, situated atop the 14-foot lander, were aimed to facilitate communication within the rugged terrain of the south polar region, marked by hills, craters, and shadows.

Odysseus marks the first U.S. landing in over 50 years. It is expected to be located just a few miles from its target near the Malapert A crater, roughly 200 miles from the south pole.

NASA, a primary client of Intuitive Machines, aimed to position itself near the pole to conduct surveys of the area in preparation for planned astronaut missions.

Last month, Japan encountered a comparable landing outcome, with its lander concluding in a sideways orientation.

NASA’s Sponsorship: Key to Odysseus Mission

NASA played a significant role in sponsoring Odysseus’ mission by contributing experiments onboard. It also paid $118 million for delivery as part of a program to boost the lunar economy.

When the lander’s navigation system failed to engage, one of NASA’s experiments stepped in, a measure initiated by Intuitive Machines upon detecting issues while attempting to enhance the lander’s orbit with lasers.

This proactive approach averted a potential crisis, as the failure would have otherwise gone unnoticed until five minutes before touchdown.

The report noted that Odysseus, launched from Florida just last week, took an additional lap around the moon on Thursday to accommodate the last-minute switch to NASA’s laser system. This move ultimately proved instrumental in saving the mission.

Intuitive Machines anticipates that the solar-powered lander will remain operational on the moon for just one more week, lasting no more than nine or ten days, before lunar nightfall ensues.

Intuitive Machines (NASDAQ: LUNR) Stock Reaction

LUNR stock plummeted 31.70% in the after-hours trading after closing at $9.59 on Friday. The traders had exchanged hands with 85,911,503 (85.91 million) shares compared to the average daily trading volume of 4.67 million.