It turns out that Intuitive Machines’ spaceship Odysseus didn’t land upright after all. IN with NASA on Friday evening, the company revealed that the lander was lying on its side after approaching a little faster than expected, possibly catching its foot on the surface as it landed. Fortunately, Odysseus is positioned in such a way that its solar panels still receive enough light from the sun to charge it, and the team was able to communicate with it. There should be pictures from the surface soon.

While the initial assessment was that Odysseus had landed correctly, further analysis showed otherwise. Intuitive Machines CEO and co-founder Steve Althemus said “stagnant telemetry” was to blame for the earlier reading. All of the payloads, except for one static art installation, however – Jeff Koons’ sculptures of the phases of the moon – face up. The lander and its NASA science payloads are collecting data from the journey, descent and landing that the team will use to try to better understand what happened. But all things considered, it seems to be doing well.

Part of the Odysseus lander can be seen with the lunar surface in the background after reaching lunar orbit

Intuitive machines

Belkovich K Crater on the North Equatorial Elevations of the Moon as seen by Odyssey from orbitBelkovich K Crater on the North Equatorial Elevations of the Moon as seen by Odyssey from orbit

Intuitive machines

The team plans to soon deploy the EagleCam camera, developed by students at Embry-Riddle Air Force University, so it can take a picture of the lander and its surroundings, perhaps as soon as this weekend. It was supposed to be jettisoned during descent to capture the moment of landing, but problems on landing day prevented it from being released.

After Odysseus was in lunar orbit and hours into its landing attempt, the team discovered that its laser rangefinders, which are key to its precision navigation, were malfunctioning—due to entirely human error. According to Altemus, someone forgot to turn on a safety switch to allow them to turn on, so they couldn’t. That realization was “like a punch in the gut,” Altemus said, and they thought they might lose the mission.

The team was fortunately able to make a last-second adjustment, drawn up on the fly by Intuitive Machines CTO and co-founder Tim Crane, who suggested that they instead use one of NASA’s onboard payloads to guide the descent, the Navigational Doppler LIDAR (NDL ). Odysseus eventually made it there. Its mission is expected to last just over a week until the lunar night falls.