(1) What is Intuitive Machines? | How is it going back to the moon?

Illustration of the Intuitive Machines’ lander on the moon (Credit: Intuitive Machines)

Intuitive Machines has just won a NASA contract regarding sending scientific experiments back to the moon, which is an exciting news for both the company and the new journey in human’s lunar exploration.

What is Intuitive Machines?

Intuitive Machines, Inc. (Nasdaq: LUNR) is an American space exploration company headquartered in Houston, Texas. It was founded in 2013 by Stephen Altemus, Kam Ghaffarian, and Tim Crain, to provide lunar surface access, lunar orbit delivery, and communication from lunar distance. Intuitive Machines holds three NASA contracts under the space agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, to deliver payloads to the lunar surface. Among these, the company holds a contract to develop a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV).

Privately held Intuitive Machines, LLC became a public company in February 2023 after merging with special purpose acquisition company Inflection Point Acquisition Corp. ] On February 22, 2024, the Odysseus IM-1 spacecraft landed on the moon. It was the first privately built spacecraft to land on the moon and the first American spacecraft to do so since 1972. The Odysseus lander rolled over on landing, but its instruments were still partially functional (albeit with reduced descent capabilities), so the mission was judged a success.

Intuitive Machines’ Lunar Operations Facility at the Houston Spaceport (Credit: Intuitive Machine)

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