NSS’ Chantelle Baier’s Odyssey to the Moon

Jeff Koons Chantelle Baier Moon Phases

Art, Technology, and a Lunar Gallery (photos below)

By Burt Dicht, NSS Managing Director of Membership

The National Space Society extends its heartfelt congratulations to NSS Board member Chantelle Baier for the historic achievement of having a payload on the Intuitive Machines Nova-C lunar lander, Odysseus, also affectionately known as “Odie.” Successfully launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center at 1:05 am on February 15, 2024, the Nova-C is part of NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) initiative.

Chantelle, the founder and CEO of 4SPACE, a female-owned space company, is dedicated to integrating non-traditional space entities into the industry. With a background in both science and the arts, she focuses on the fusion of artistic brilliance and cutting-edge technology. The Nova-C is set to deliver NASA science and technology payloads to the Moon, alongside commercial payloads, paving the way for a sustainable lunar presence.

Among the commercial payloads is an art project initiated by Chantelle in 2021. Onboard Odysseus is Jeff Koons’ “Moon Phases,” featuring 125 unique 1-inch miniature stainless steel Moon phase sculptures, each corresponding to individuals from various cultures, fields, and time periods. 4SPACE collaborated closely with Koons, SpaceX, and Intuitive Machines to design a polycarbonate container that safeguards the sculptures from the Moon’s environment.

In a recent interview, Chantelle emphasized the significance of this space effort, stating:

“We all accept the idea that space travel is powered by human science and engineering, but humans also express themselves with art, design, media and entertainment. We will now have an art gallery on the Moon, exhibiting Jeff Koons’ work, in perpetuity. Humans rely on technology, but we also define ourselves by aesthetics. It’s important that different sides of humanity are expressed in space.”

To celebrate this historic launch, the NSS office at the Kennedy Space Center assisted Chantelle in organizing a launch viewing event. More than 200 NSS members, Space Hipsters, and students witnessed a perfect launch from the Banana Creek Viewing Site as the Falcon 9 lifted off from LC-39A following a one day delay due to a technical issue. Prior to the first launch attempt, the guests all gathered at a pre-launch party (Tuesday, Feb 13) at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront to hear from Chantelle and meet other invited guests. NSS wishes to thank media.com for sponsoring both the pre-launch party and the launch event.

Notable attendees included students from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). These talented students, working with faculty researchers, designed the EagleCam, a CubeSat that will photograph the Nova-C as it lands on the lunar surface. Also in attendance was Grace Robertson, an Astronaut Scholar and systems engineer at Sierra Space. While a student at ERAU, Grace was part of the EagleCam design team, and she shared some of her story during an NSS space forum last year. The EagleCam marks the first university payload going to the Moon. Space shuttle astronauts Nicole Stott, an ERAU graduate, and Winston Scott were special guests at the pre-launch party, adding excitement to the already energetic evening.

Nova-C is now enroute to the Moon and is scheduled to land on February 22 at 5:30 pm EST at the Moon’s south pole, near the lunar feature known as Malapert A. Follow the progress of Odysseus on the Intuitive Machines website. The landing will be live streamed on YouTube via Space.com.

This mission not only signifies a major milestone in lunar exploration but also symbolizes the boundless possibilities when art and science converge. The National Space Society applauds Chantelle Baier, the 4SPACE team, and the ERAU EagleCam team for their remarkable achievements, eagerly anticipating the impact of their endeavors on the future of space exploration and settlement.

Photos

1 – (Photo at top of page) Jeff Koons, Chantelle Baier and Moon Phases (Credit: Koons/Baier)

2 Astronuat Winston Scott
2 – Pre-Launch Party – Winston Scott addresses guests (Credit: Burt Dicht)  

3 Nicole Stott
3 – Nicole Stott (c) with from left Elizabeth Schnieder, Jean Wright, Burt Dicht and Jamie Giguere (Credit: Burt Dicht)

4 ERAU EagleCam Team
4 – ERAU EagleCam team with Nicole Stott (front row, 4th from left) (Credit: Burt Dicht)

5 Liftoff
5 – SpaceX Falcon 9 Nova-C Launch (Credit: Burt Dicht)

6 Burt and Chantelle
6 – Burt and Chantelle celebrating after the launch (Credit: Burt Dicht)

7 Nova C on way to the Moon
7 – Nova-C begins its journey to the Moon (Credit: SpaceX)

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