EagleCam is unable to capture images of Odysseus moon lander despite its deployment

Finally, the EagleCam instrument, an onboard camera system on the Odysseus moon lander, has been successfully deployed about 4 meters away from the lander on February 28, 2024, to capture Odysseus.

However, since deployment, the EagleCam instrument has been unable to capture any images of the Odysseus moon lander. 

It seems that something in the camera or in the Wi-Fi signal back to the lander is not functioning correctly.

The EagleCam team is currently assessing the problem so that they can solve it.

EagleCam can take photos of the Odysseus moon lander from the lunar surface, like a third-person view
EagleCam can take photos of the Odysseus moon lander from the lunar surface, like a third-person view (as in the picture above). (Image credit: Intuitive Machines)

The students of Embry‑Riddle Aeronautical University have built this EagleCam instrument, which can take photos of the spacecraft from the lunar surface like a third-person view. 

What happened with EagleCam instrument?

EagleCam is one of the 12 instruments that Odysseus moon lander carried to the lunar surface on February 22, 2024.

Operational diagram of the EagleCam camera system of the Odysseus lander
Original deployment plan of the EagleCam instrument. (Image credit: Intuitive Machines)

It was originally planned to deploy from the Odysseus lander during descent when the lander was approximately 100 feet (30 meters) above the lunar surface so that it could take the lunar touchdown moment of Odysseus from the ground.

However, the plan didn’t work as the spacecraft encountered a software glitch with its navigation system during its descent on the lunar surface.

As a result, the EagleCam instrument was kept shut down and not deployed to ensure the soft landing of Odysseus spacecraft.

The EagleCam deployment plan was delayed again as the spacecraft tipped over on the lunar surface after landing.

Related article: Odysseus moon lander tipped over on the lunar surface during landing 

On February 28, 2024, Intuitive Machines, a private US company that sent the Odysseus lander to the lunar surface, finally deployed the EagleCam instrument to photograph the Odysseus moon lander but the instrument malfunctioned.

Only the narrow-field-of-view camera attached to the Odysseus lander was able to capture the lander on the lunar surface.

Related article: New image shows the Odysseus spacecraft tilted on the lunar surface with a broken leg

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Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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