Houston-based Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus mission, which made history as the first privately-led space mission to land on the Moon on 22 February, has officially concluded. The spacecraft’s mission ended as the company reported receiving no message from the lander since it entered a power-saving standby mode during lunar night.

Odysseus successfully operated on the lunar surface for seven Earth days before transitioning into standby mode when the Sun set at its landing location. Although the mission duration matched its design specifications, engineers at Intuitive Machines hoped for the lander to reactivate upon exposure to sunlight during lunar daybreak.

Despite continuous efforts to re-establish communication, Intuitive Machines announced on Sunday that the spacecraft had remained silent permanently. The company stated, “Flight controllers decided their projections were correct, and Odie’s power system would not complete another call home. This confirms that Odie has permanently faded after cementing its legacy into history as the first commercial lunar lander to land on the Moon.”

The Odysseus mission was part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, aimed at collaborating with private companies to deliver equipment and technology to the Moon. Unlike the past Apollo missions, which marked humanity’s initial lunar exploration, NASA’s upcoming Artemis program intends to establish a sustainable presence on Earth’s satellite.

Initiatives like CLPS and the US Department of Defense’s Luna10 plan envision the development of a “lunar economy” utilising the Moon’s resources and unique location. This strategy could transform the Moon into a strategic staging point for missions to distant parts of the solar system, offering opportunities for scientific exploration and economic development beyond Earth’s orbit.