Earth’s History is being rewritten on the Moon. For the first time since the Apollo era, more than half a century ago, an American spacecraft landed on the moon.

It is a privately owned, unmanned robot funded by NASA to pave the way for American astronauts who plan to return to the moon within a decade.

Odysseus, built by Intuitive Machines, a Houston-based company, landed on the moon on Thursday (Friday morning Greek time).

“Today, for the first time in more than half a century, the US returned to the Moon,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a video. “Today, for the first time in human history, a private company, an American company, made the journey to the Moon.”

Photos from an external camera (“EagleCam”) designed to launch from the spacecraft during its final seconds of descent could be released later in the day, a member of the team that built it told AFP.

“After troubleshooting communications, flight controllers have confirmed that Ulysses is beginning to send data,” Intuitive Machines reported on the X platform.

A previous attempt by a US company last month ended in failure. Private industry has long struggled to prove it can repeat a feat last accomplished by the US space agency NASA during the manned Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

NASA’s first manned mission is planned for 2026. China also plans to send its first crew to the Moon in 2030, ushering in a new era of space competition with Beijing replacing Moscow.