The launch of America's private lunar lander has been postponed due to a technical glitch in Florida

Update 1-Launch of private US lunar lander postponed due to technical glitch in Florida

Recast with launch postponed for at least 24 hours

By Joe Skipper and Steve Gorman

Cape Canaveral, Florida, February 13 (Reuters)Dplanned to startA robotic moon lander built by Houston-based aerospace company Intuitive MachinesWednesday's lift-off was aborted less than two hours before lift-off and was delayed for at least a day, launch contractor SpaceX said Tuesday night.

SpaceX, the private rocket and satellite company founded by billionaire Elon Musk, said on social media site X that the launch team was „standing down from tonight's attempt” due to erratic methane temperatures before liftoff.

The precise operation of methane and its implications for the proper operation of the Falcon 9 rocket were not immediately explained. The rocket's Merlin engines run on kerosene and liquid oxygen.

The decision to scrub the plane's intuitive engines came 75 minutes before liftoff, set for liftoff at 12:57 a.m. EST Wednesday from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

SpaceX said it is targeting the next launch opportunity for the uncrewed mission, scheduled for 1:05 a.m. EST on Thursday.

Intuitive Machines' The Nova-C lander, named Odysseus, The Falcon 9 is ready atop a rocket for a mission aimed at hosting the first US lunar touchdown since the last Apollo moon mission half a century ago, and is a privately owned vehicle.

The feat would mark the first trip to the lunar surface under NASA's Artemis lunar program, which will return US astronauts to Earth's natural satellite before China lands its own spacecraft.

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The launch comes a month after another private company Astrobotic Technology's lunar lander suffered a propulsion system leak en route to the moon. Placed in orbit On January 8, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vulcan rocket made its first flight.

The failure of NASA's Astrobotic's Peregrine lander marks the third time a private company has failed to achieve a „soft landing” on the lunar surface, following ill-fated efforts by companies in Israel and Japan.

Those accidents illustrate the risks NASA faces in leaning more heavily on the commercial sector than it has in the past to meet its spaceflight goals.

DHis latest IM-1 flight is considered an intuitive machines mission, carrying six NASA payload instruments designed to collect data on the lunar environment ahead of the NASA Artemis mission that will return astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972.

If the four-legged Odysseus lander lands this week, that's the callto achieve its goal On that day February 22 to land in the Malabert A crater near the moon's south pole.

Reporting by Joe Skipper in Cape Canaveral, Florida and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles. Editing by Gerry Doyle

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