The vehicle is believed to have caught one of its six landing feet on the lunar surface near the end of its final descent and tipped over, coming to rest sideways, propped up on a rock, an analysis of data by flight engineers showed, according to Houston-based Intuitive Machines.

Still, all indications are that Odysseus "is stable near or at our intended landing site" close to a crater called Malapert A in the region of the moon's south pole, said Stephen Altemus, chief executive officer of Intuitive Machines, which built and flew the lander.

The lander is carrying a suite of scientific experiments for NASA and several commercial customers designed to operate for seven days on solar energy before the sun sets over the polar landing site.