United States achieves first lunar landing in half a century 

On Thursday, Texas-based Intuitive Machines' spacecraft landed near the moon's south pole, marking the first U.S. 

NASA, which carried many research instruments, welcomed the landing as a key milestone in its objective of sending a squad of commercially piloted spacecraft on scientific scouting trips to the moon before astronauts return later this decade. 

However, initial communications issues after Thursday's landing aroused concerns about the vehicle's impairment or obstruction. 

The uncrewed six-legged robot lander, Odysseus, landed at 6:23 p.m. EST (2323 GMT), the company and NASA announced in a joint webcast from Intuitive Machines' (LUNR.O), opens new tab mission operations center in Houston. 

The spacecraft's autonomous navigation system malfunctioned during the final approach and descent, forcing engineers on the ground to use an untested workaround at the last minute. 

After an expected radio outage, it required time to repair communications with the spacecraft and discover its destiny 239,000 miles (384,000 km) from Earth. 

According to the webcast, the signal was feeble when communication was restored, showing that the lander had touched down but left mission control uncertain of its condition and position. 

"Our equipment is on the moon, and we are transmitting, so congratulations IM team," Intuitive Machines mission director Tim Crain told the operations center.  

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