This Valentine’s Day, SpaceX is setting hearts aflutter with not one, but two rocket launches. The Falcon 9 rockets are scheduled to take off from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The first launch, Nova C (IM-1), is set for 12:57am, followed by the USSF-124 mission at 5:30pm. These back-to-back launches will elevate our national security and lunar knowledge. They will also continue to demonstrate SpaceX’s ability to make rocket launches affordable and practical.
Will Commercial Lunar Lander Nova-C Succeed Where Peregrine Failed?
The Nova-C IM-1 mission, organized by Intuitive Machines in collaboration with NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program is an ambitious lunar exploration mission. The mission’s primary objective is to land the Nova-C lander, also known as Odysseus, on the moon, carrying a suite of payloads from NASA as well as commercial entities. If a successful lunar landing occurs, it will be the first commercial landing by the NASA CLPS program. The first attempt on January 8th, 2024, failed when the Peregrine lunar lander by Astrobotic encountered a propulsion system malfunction.
These missions represent a blend of scientific exploration and commercial interests, aiming to pave the way for even more lunar missions and the broader goal of sustainable lunar habitation. To return humans to the moon, NASA is developing the SLS rocket, Space Launch System. The Artemis program, twin sister of Apollo, aims to return humans to the Moon by the end of the decade. Artemis I successfully launched November 16, 2022. Artemis II is expected to launch no earlier than September of 2025.
Nova-C is scheduled for launch on February 14, 2024, at 12:57am, the Nova-C IM-1 will embark on its journey aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The mission carries an array of scientific instruments and technologies designed to study the lunar surface and its environment. Payloads include: