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Houston, Odysseus has a new home.

Intuitive Machines makes history as the first commercial company to land on the Moon. The landing is the first for the US since 1972. And more.




Intuitive Machines makes history as the first commercial company to land on the Moon. Payloads from NASA and commercial customers are at the Moon’s south pole carried by the Nova-C class lunar lander called Odysseus. The landing is the first for the US since 1972, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our guest today is Wellness Coach and Virgin Galactic Astronaut Keisha Schahaff.

You can connect with Keisha on LinkedIn and learn more about her work on her website.

Selected Reading

Moon landing: US clinches first touchdown in 50 years | Reuters

Here's what just landed on the moon aboard Intuitive Machines' Odysseus lander | Space

Intuitive Machines jumps in wild trading after moon landing

NASA, Intuitive Machines to Discuss Historic Moon Mission Today

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[MUSIC] On the eighth day of a quarter million mile voyage, a voyage along the great cosmic bridge from the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center to the target of the South Pole of the Moon, a commercial lander named Odysseus, powered by a company called Intuitive Machines, launched upon a SpaceX rocket, carrying a bounty of NASA scientific instruments, and bearing the dream of a new adventure, a new adventure in science, innovation, and American leadership in space, while all of that aced the landing of a lifetime.

Alice, I don't know about you, but that touchdown yesterday gave me all the feels.

It was a first in our lifetime, and it was an exciting time to be involved in this space industry.

Don't you agree, Alice?


It's inspired my weekly joke for you, Maria.

You ready?

Oh, I'm bracing myself.


So why did the people not enjoy the restaurant on the Moon?

Why did they not enjoy the, they couldn't get good service?

I don't know.

Because there was no atmosphere.

Oh, oh, see, it's science and it's funny.

There you go.

There you go.

There you go.

Today is February 23rd, 2024.

I'm Maria Varmazes.

I'm Alice Peruz, and this is T-minus.

Intuitive Machines makes history as the first commercial company to land on the Moon.

Payloads from NASA and commercial customers are at the Moon's South Pole, carried by the Nova Sea class lunar lander called Odysseus.

And given this historic moment in history, we have our own history maker as our guest today.

Keisha Shahaf is the first Caribbean woman to go to space.

She flew on Virgin Galactic's flight with her daughter, making them the first mother-daughter pair to travel to space.

Keisha spoke with Maria about her amazing journey to stay with us for the second half of the show.

So in case the headlines didn't give it away, we're mixing today's show up a little bit and veering away from our normal format of multiple daily headlines.

Yes, when we met for our morning production meeting, there was only one story that we wanted to cover, the first commercial lunar landing.

So indulge us, if you will, as we cover this historic event in its entirety.

For yesterday, history was made.

Finally, in my and Alice's lifetimes, America is back on the lunar surface.

The Nova Sea lunar lander named Odysseus, made by intuitive machines of Houston, returned America to the moon for the first time in over 50 years.

What we can confirm without a doubt is our equipment is on the surface of the moon and we are transmitting.

So congratulations, IM team.

We'll see how much more we can get from that.

Houston, Odysseus has found his new home.

That was mission director Dr.

Tim Crane, speaking to the intuitive machine's mission control center in Houston, Texas.

What an event to watch live as the first commercial lunar payload services or CLIPS contractor completed its mission and landed at a crater named Malapur A, near the Moon's South Pole.

And as we mentioned, it's the first time that the US has returned to the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

Its arrival marked the first soft landing on the moon ever by a commercially manufactured and operated vehicle and it's the first under NASA's Artemis Lunar Program, paving the way for NASA to return humans to the moon in 2026.

Intuitive machines took to social media to provide an update from the lunar surface on day one.

That update read, quote, "Odysseus is alive and well.

Flight controllers are communicating and commanding the vehicle to download science data.

The lander has good telemetry and solar charging.

We continue to learn more about the vehicle's scientific information, overall health and attitude orientation."

So speaking of that data, we wanted to go into a little more depth on the payloads onboard Odie.

And yes, we love that Garfield inspired puppy nickname.

There are 12 payloads on Odie in all.

Some are from NASA and others are from commercial companies.

Now, NASA is the primary customer for this mission.

There are six NASA payloads on the Odysseus Novoselander in all.

The successful landing for Odysseus is going to build momentum and support for the clips program, no doubt.

And the science payloads aboard are also going to help better understand how to more easily communicate with the missions on the moon, as well as study the lunar surface for when the Artemis mission lands astronauts there.

So those NASA payloads include an RF mass gauge.

And as the word gauge implies, it's an advanced fuel gauge being tested here.

As you might imagine, having an accurate picture of fuel levels is going to be crucial for long-term space missions, especially with trickier liquid propellants.

And there's also scalps, which will take images of the lander's engine plume, or the dust that it kicks up as Odysseus landed.

Having a better understanding of how lunar dust moves can help improve modeling to improve Artemis landing vehicle designs.

The Rolsis, or radio observations of the lunar surface photoelectron sheath, will take a number of measurements on the lunar surface to give scientists a better understanding of basically how radio-noisy the moon's surface is, which will help provide a better baseline for all future moon missions.

And the accidental star of the show is the NDL, or Navigation Doppler LiDAR for precise velocity and range sensing.

This is an experiment that ended up having its big moment in the spotlight way earlier than imagined when Odysseus' onboard vehicle navigation sensors failed not long before the landing time, and the NDL was tapped into as a backup kind of in the 11th hour.

Needless to say, this wasn't part of the plan for this experimental payload.

Honestly, my hat is off to the software engineers who figured out a patch for this contingency and deployed it on the fly for a lander in lunar orbit.

That had to have been some white-knuckle coating, so serious kudos there.

And as Maria mentioned, there are commercial payloads on board as well.

Some are scientific in nature, while others have provided opportunities for companies that aren't normally associated with space.

Take the miniature sculptures by artist Jeff Koons, and for those of us that aren't up to date on the who's who of the arts world, he's best known for his metal balloon animal sculptures.

The new sculptures that he's sent up on Iron One are centered on the moon as a symbol of human curiosity.

His project includes 125 unique works, each consisting of three components, a sculpture that will be installed on the moon, a sculpture that will stay on the Earth, and an NFT that corresponds with the sculptures on the moon and the Earth.


We talked earlier this week about the Embry Riddlemade Eagle Cam, which is designed to capture the first-ever third-person image of a spacecraft making a lunar landing.

The team's first update was that the camera is receiving telemetry and working with intuitive machines on next steps.

But the next update unfortunately confirmed that while the camera is working, we won't be seeing that landing selfie.

Here's the update.

Due to complications with Odysseus's internal navigation system, specifically concerning the software patch to navigation data to include NASA's navigation Doppler LiDAR payload, which is meant to ensure a soft landing, the decision was made to power down Eagle Cam during landing and not deploy the device during Odysseus's final descent.

However, both the intuitive machines and Eagle Cam teams still plan to deploy Eagle Cam and capture images of the lander on the lunar surface as the mission continues.

The time of deployment is currently unknown.

While we do look forward to seeing those images when they come in.

Next is the Lunar Prize, a time capsule or lunar gram or library with messages etched on pure nickel nanofitch.

The aim is to create a secure lunar repository to preserve human knowledge indefinitely.

The payload is part of a non-profit art mission Foundation's billion-year archive.

The library includes contents of Wikipedia, a compilation of human languages assembled by the Long Now Foundation and a variety of other content.

Also on board is a dual-camera lunar imaging system which is the precursor to the future international Lunar Observatory Association Hawaii's flagship moon, South Polar Observatory.

The ILX will test and verify systems and conduct astronomy, including capturing images of our galaxy.

Lone Star data holdings has already achieved major milestones with its lunar data storage payload.

The company transmitted the Declaration of Independence in flight to intuitive machines as Nova Sea Lander insist lunar space en route to the moon and received transmission back of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The milestone was achieved by Lone Star's independence mission aimed at establishing a series of data centers on and around the moon.

Lone Star's lunar data centers are designed for data storage, edge processing and have the capability to restore digital information.

And the final payload is from Columbia.

No, not the university, go Lions, the sports brand.

We're going to dive into the marketing genius behind their campaign later in the show.

Columbia is testing an Omni-Heat thermal reflective technology on the Lander's A2 closeout panel designed to protect Nova Sea's cryogenic propulsion tank.

We see lunar thermal clothing in the near future.

And it's not just on the moon that intuitive machines is achieving success.

Their stock was also through the roof at the opening of trading this morning.

And we know one minority stockholder who's most happy.

Brandon, your $200 investment should have good returns today.

To the moon.


Drinks are on Brandon, everybody.

You heard it here first.

We're expecting more updates from the mission later today when representatives from NASA and intuitive machines' CEO Steve Altemis will participate in a press conference.

Now, they're holding it at the time that we normally publish our show, so we'll provide updates from that press conference on Monday.

Today is a day that shows the power and promise of NASA's commercial partnerships.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this great and daring quest at intuitive machines, SpaceX, and right here at NASA.

What a triumph.

Odysseus has taken the moon.

This feat is a giant leap forward for all of humanity.

Stay tuned.

Thank you, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

We will stay tuned.

And we have a few articles in our show notes for you today on this historic milestone in commercial space.

You can also find those links at space.intuk.com and click on this episode title.

Hey, T-minus crew, tune in tomorrow for T-minus Deep Space.

It's our show for extended interviews, special editions, and deep dives with some of the most influential professionals in the space industry.

And tomorrow we have my chat in full with Virgin Galactic astronaut, Hisha Shahoff.

We covered space travel, wellness coaching, and motherhood.

Honestly, it's a tear-jerker.

Check it out when you're recovering from this epic week of commercial space firsts.

You don't want to miss it.

And today we have a short clip from my chat with Virgin Galactic astronaut, Hisha Shahoff.

We will have the chat in full for our Deep Space episode tomorrow.

Hisha and her daughter won their trip to space, which they experienced in August of last year.

I started by asking Hisha about the flight preparations.

The training was really professional.

I mean, even if you're not going to become a professional astronaut, it made you feel like you're really a part of something so big.

So the way that they really explained everything about the craft and its setting and all of that, and then going through the whole-- going into the craft itself and doing the trainings in there, it was really beautiful.

It was so satire-priner, saturated.

And it just made me feel so much safer as well, knowing that I'm going into such a technology that really just takes you off from a runway.

And you come back in and you land on a runway as well.

So it's almost like a commercial flight, but still you're going out into space.

So after this particular training, got all suited up and everything, going on this craft with myself and my daughter, we also had another passenger with us.

He was a paid passenger, though.

We won all tickets with he paid, John Goodwin.

He was a lovely guy from the UK, and he was with us.

And it's the bond that we formulated as a team with the three of us, which is beautiful.

And then also the entire Virgin Galactic crew as well.

It was really amazing.

So now we're taking off from the runway, and we're making it up to about 50,000 feet, 45,000 to 50,000 feet going around like zigzag kind of.

The mothership is carrying us because it's two planes.

The mothership, which is a carrier plane, and then the rocket ship that we were in.

So it took us up to about 50,000 feet.

And then released us into midair like that.

And then this is where the rocket motor ignited.

And that was the blast of our life.

We went from 50,000 feet all the way up to 290,000 feet, which was 55 miles off our planet.

That was, wow, you just felt your face going back and beautiful facelift.

And you just feel like, OK, I'm leaving everything behind.

But in that one minute that we took from going that distance, I saw my entire life flash before me.

And I made peace with my life.

So it felt like it was a death and a rebirth.

That's kind of what it felt like for me.

And then getting out there, such a reward by seeing the darkness of the sky, the vastness of space, seeing the planet.

That was just beautiful.

This big blue orb just floating there in this darkness.

And it was just beautiful because I could not-- I could not imagine any thoughts that could come to my mind.

I didn't even have any words for what was going on.

All I felt was peace and connection.

At that moment, I realized there's a bigger energy than us out there because I've always been a seeker trying to understand what's our purpose here, why we clear what's all of this for.

But all of that cleared away once I got up there and I saw a planet.

It is all supposed to be the way it's happening right here, right now.

There's nothing to worry about.

I felt like I faced everything that I needed to face.

And I was just looking back on a beautiful planet and it just changed me forever.

I felt a connection of love, a connection of unity, a connection of worth.

I feel worthy now.

I don't feel like-- like weird in myself like the way I used to feel before.

I feel confident.

And I feel like my purpose now is to share my story and help other people as well because I've been through such a journey.

And seeing our planet and feeling everything, I felt such a connection to my daughter as well, to John, to the crew that took us up there, this gratitude.

It was just a beautiful energy.

And I came back on this planet with that and I just felt like I was still in this dream.

Like, part of me was still up there, part of me was still on the planet.

And another part of me came back to the planet.

So it felt like I got split in three places.

It's just weird.


I'm really feeling what you're saying.

I'm very moved by it.

Yeah, yeah.

With that, you have to just soak it in.

It's just-- it's just beautiful.

It's so striking to hear you also mentioned like the death and rebirth.

And also your journey because I think, especially when it comes to things when people talk about space in general, there's often sort of like a stereotype of a person who's like, they went directly there on a journey.

And it's like, for most of us, life is not that way.

For most of us, life takes us on these twists and turns.

And we have-- it's just-- your story is so real and so human and so relatable for me.

And you are in space with your child, with your daughter.

As a mom, I think when we heard-- when my producer and I heard your story, we're both moms.

And we were just going, what is that like as a mom to be in space with your daughter?


To be honest, it brought-- it brought me so much joy.

But also, I was worried too because I knew it was my dream.

And I was ready for whatever the risk were to acquire my dream.

But when she wanted to come, I'm like, wow.

She had to make that decision for herself.

And luckily, it took two years.

And she was 18 years old.

So she was able to make that decision for herself.

And I said to her, at any time you can back out, you don't have to do this.

And I just wanted her to know that.

And I wanted her to know she doesn't-- or anybody, anything.

And it's OK.

And the night before going to the space flight, she almost backed out.

But then she said, no, I'm going to do this.

And I said, you're sure?

She said, yes, I'm going to do this.

I said, OK.

And then when we actually did it, I kept looking at her, making sure she's OK.

She also had a mirror on her hand because she was sitting in the seat in front of me.

I gave her that seat so that she can have that-- moms, we always want-- was better for our kids anyway.

So I would still be in a mom even if I was acquiring my dream.

And so she would raise her hand and have the mirror so she can look back at me.

And I just made sure that I was sending her this energy that she could feel relaxed and everything in the experience.

And it was just beautiful.

I know I'm going to cry.

I'm sorry.

I'm actually crying.

It was just so beautiful.

And in the moment we got up there, the first thing I did, I think in the video you saw it too, before taking in the view, I looked at her to make sure she was OK again.

We're floating in zero gravity.

And I looked at her, made sure she's OK.

And she's not looking at me now.

She's just doing her thing.

And then it brought me back to when she was so little, just a little baby, and the curiosity she had and the love for life and adventure.

And I just saw that innocence in her face.

And I felt so touched.

And then I looked out the window and just enjoyed the view.

I was like, OK, let me get this in now.

I can see she's enjoying it.

Let me know from me.

So it was such an unselfish, pure love moment that it was just wonderful.

I have never been so moved.

I'm speaking to someone.

You are really moving.

I'm sorry.

I apologize.

No, no, no.

I just-- it's so-- I think every mother can really relate to that feeling of looking at your child and remembering when they were little.

But in such a moment of wonder-- and then I'm so glad you took that time also for yourself to enjoy the view.

Man, mothering in space.

My goodness.

I just-- oh, my goodness gracious.

It's beautiful because I feel like more than half my life I've been a mother.

For 27 years, I've been a mother.

Because I've been a mother when I was 19 years old.

I had my daughter.

And I just wanted a moment that I could also have my dream.

And I got that dream and still got to be a mother at the same time.

So that was beautiful.

These identities are all a part of us.

We carry them with us even to space.

Your story is so touching.

I just-- I'm very moved by it.

Also being able to represent Antigua, representing the Caribbean.

What has that meant to you, especially since you've come back?

I mean, tell me about that.

So it was also very moving for me knowing that my island, my nation, was also supporting me with this.

So there was a watch party that was orchestrated here, which I was grateful for.

Because I could not finance my mother and my big-- my older daughter to come with me to see this at Spaceports America.

It was just way too expensive that I could afford.

So the best thing that happened was Antigua and Barbuda hosted a watch party.

And my mother and my daughter were VIP members there that they could come forth and sit up for it and watch the whole thing that was being shown live.

And even better than that, Mr.

Richard Branson actually went to Antigua to watch this.

Instead of going to Spaceports America, where it's happening there, he came to Antigua so he could be with my family and watch me go to space.

So that was-- it was-- and I didn't know about it.

So when I got back and someone showed me the video of how much hundreds of thousands of people that were in the stadium watching this, I started to cry.

I couldn't believe it.

And then on top of that, we had big media and all of that.

Like, all the top medias were there at Spaceports to welcome us.

And there was a press conference.

And Antigua flag was there.

It was so supporting because my biggest fear was public speaking.

Having to-- having to-- right.

Because it's like, you can't make a mistake.

You're so great at it, though.

Yeah, no.

You don't need to worry about that at all.

Thank you.

Thank you.

So I don't know why I get so much anxiety with that.

I always-- I'm always afraid of saying the wrong thing.

I'm not going to be understood, you know?

Like-- and I think that comes back from failing when I was a kid in school with these limitations.

And that's what I worked on with myself as a coach, to get myself out of that.

So I can be here and show up and do this work now.

Because I would not have done it 10 years ago.

I would have been too scared.

So everything happens in the right time.

So Antigua and Barbuda was really on my side.

And when I got back to Antigua, it was beautiful because it was like a celebrity coming back to the island.

And they said, yes, you are a celebrity.

I'm like, what does that mean?

[LAUGHTER] [MUSIC PLAYING] And that was just part of my, honestly, very moving conversation with Kisha Shahoff.

It's not often I cry in this job.

But this was one of those times.

So trust me, you'll really want to hear the whole thing.

And you can do that by tuning into tomorrow's episode of T-minus deep space to hear my conversation with wellness coach and astronaut Kisha Shahoff in full.

Don't miss it.

[MUSIC PLAYING] We'll be right back.

[MUSIC PLAYING] All right, welcome back.

So big surprise here.

Alice and I are not just space nerds.

We're also marketing nerds, having both spent a number of years in PR and marketing in cyber and space before we started on this podcast.

And we couldn't let the first lunar marketing campaign pass us by without a mention.

And this one is pretty huge.

As we said earlier, Columbia Sports Center payload up on the IM1 mission.

And they used the opportunity to create an epic marketing campaign.

Not only did we see Columbia plastered on the side of the Intuitive Machine spacecraft, which was featured in the first images of the vehicle that was shared, the company also took a step up using the sphere in Las Vegas to promote the historic mission.

It's a real turnaround from other brands that had jumped on the anti-space movement in recent years, most notably Rival Sports brand Patagonia, which ran their Not Mars campaign.

The outdoor clothing giant is revered for its responsible business and advertising model.

And rarely does global campaigns.

But the Not Mars campaign saw murals pop up across the globe with the slogan, "We're in business to save our home planet."

Created with clean air paint, of course.

And the marketing manager behind the ad run said, "There are all these billionaires who think we need to go to Mars, but we want to save planet Earth."

Which completely missed the point about what the majority of the space industry stands for.

After all, isn't it space-based assets that help us learn about our planet and monitor the effects of climate change?

So why not both?

And we say Bravo, Columbia!

Not only are you responsible enough to make your clothing in larger sizes.

Thank you very much for that.

Attack that Patagonia is known for ignoring.

You see the benefits of space for humanity and advances in science and have shared it with the masses.

We cannot wait to buy all the space-based clothing that I'm sure is bound to come from this mission.

Just remember, size XL and above included, please.

That's it for Team Miners for February 23rd, 2024.

For additional resources from today's report, check out our show notes at space.intuk.com.

We'd love to know what you think of this podcast.

You can email us at space@intuk.com or submit the survey in the show notes.

Your feedback ensures that we deliver the information that keeps you a step ahead in the rapidly changing space industry.

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Learn more at N2K.com.

This episode was produced by Alice Karuth, mixing by Elliot Peltzman and Trey Hester with original music and sound design by Elliot Peltzman.

Our executive producer is Jen Iben.

Our VP is Brandon Karp, drinks on him.

And I'm Maria Varmazes.

Thanks for listening.

Have a great weekend. (radio chatter) (radio chatter) (radio chatter) here you

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