U.S. returns to the moon after more than 50 years with historic privately owned spacecraft

The lander was built by Intuitive Machines and touched down on the lunar surface around 6:23 p.m. Wednesday.

The United States scored its second landing on the moon. It was the first vehicle to do so in 50 years and the first in history to come from the private sector. The lander, named Nova-C by Intuitive Machines but nicknamed Odysseus,  left Earth on February 15.

The first U.S. spacecraft to reach the moon did so in 1972 as part of the Apollo 17 mission. This time, the company Intuitive Machines achieved the historic feat, completing its task at around 6:23 pm ET. It even successfully overcame a last-stage failure with its onboard laser instruments.

The spacecraft launched into space on February 15 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Moments later, the 14-foot-tall lander separated and spent six days traveling more than 620,000 miles to reach its ultimate goal: the moon.

It is expected to spend about a week collecting data on the moon before lunar night arrives and the probe loses power.

This is a developing news story...