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Embark with Intuitive Machines and set sail on the cosmic seas of opportunity

3.27.2024 breaking news: Texas Governor @GregAbbott_TX has appointed Intuitive Machines VP of Production and Operations @Astro2fish as a member of the Executive Committee of the Texas Aerospace Research and Space Economy Consortium. The Texas Space Commission will work to strengthen Texas’ proven leadership in civil, commercial, and military aerospace activity by promoting innovation in the fields of space exploration and commercial aerospace opportunities, including the integration of space, aeronautics, and aviation industries into the Texas economy. The Commission is governed by a nine-member board of directors, who will also administer the legislatively created Space Exploration and Aeronautics Research Fund to provide grants to eligible entities. | Texas Governor GregAbbott: Proud to LAUNCH 🚀 the Texas Space Commission today at @NASA in Houston! The Commission will further cement Texas’ place as a leader in space exploration. As we look to the future of space, one thing is clear: those who reach for the stars do so from the great state of Texas.

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Begin:

Embark on a journey with Intuitive Machines (IM, NASDAQ: LUNR); position yourself and set sail on the cosmic sea of opportunity. Trailblazer IM has etched its name in the annals of space exploration not just as a participant but as a concomitant leader - a vanguard - in a bourgeoning new and exciting space age/race. With a historic lunar landing that marked the United States' triumphant return to the Moon after over 50 years, Intuitive Machines has proven the ability to reach its ambitious goals through both savvy leadership and awe inspiring teamwork, demonstrating great mettle in meeting and overcoming many difficult challenges.

Here's why Intuitive Machines is a stellar investment:

[1] Innovation. and Leadership: At the forefront of lunar exploration, their IM-1 Nova-C class lander Odysseus' (endearingly named Odie) successful soft-landing on the Moon showcases IMs' great technical leadership/teamwork, mastery, prowess and reliability.

[2] Financial Growth: IM concluded 2023 with a $268.6 million backlog, nearly doubling in Q4, driven by OMES III task orders, an International Space Agency lunar payload, and the Department of Defense, Air Force Research Laboratory JETSON award. This remarkable growth trajectory showcases the company's expanding market influence and operational success.

[3] Strategic Partnerships: Valued partnerships with NASA, Nokia (NOK) [IM-2, Tipping Point Initiative], AVL, Boeing (BA), Lunar Outpost, Michelin, Northrop Grumman (NOC), Rousch  [Lunar Terrain Vehicle - LTV],. contracts worth millions, and what will most surely total billions, underscores their industry significance.

[4] Market Potential: IM is well-positioned to capitalize on the burgeoning space industry, with a market potential of over $120 billion, and valuable patent portfolio (see at end, below)

[5] Operational Efficiency: IM achieved a positive gross margin despite challenges, thanks to revenue from key contracts,.

[6] Future Prospects: The alliance with the U.S. Space Force through the JETSON contract [and what is likely to be more contracts under the Department of Defense], international cooperation with European Space Agency (ESA) as well as further interest from ESA and other international partners as to using IM's services [all serving as definitive global partner handshakes], as well as already established lunar missions under NASA CLPS, and other slated payloads and plans in relation to governmental/commercial lunar missions going forward, all go toward being a key player and leader in our Moon's cislunar economy; plus more innovative and attention bringing sponsorships like Columbia Sportswear's Omni-Heat™ technology on the lunar surface, all highlight and will empower Intuitive Machines' role in advancing space technology and exploration to new heights, garnering IM more attention - of which future commercial (national and international) business and sponsorships will most certainly do. All of these factors as well as accolades from US President Joe Biden, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, recognition of IM as a vanguard for Artemis by the NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, bode well and as a certainty, will further solidify IMs' pivotal role in the technological cislunar space economy; IMs expanding technology services aim, not only for near space/cislunar space, but will most certainly go further beyond.

Intuitive Machines stands as a beacon of innovation, a pioneer in the new epoch of lunar exploration [in addition to much more], and a symbol of international cooperation and sponsorship synergies. Their achievements are not only technological triumphs but milestones in the collective human endeavor to have a positive impact in many arenas for our planetary, offplanet endeavors, and more beyond.

Plus ultra!

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Further valuable IM intel:

A Sample Portfolio of Patents Paving the Path to the Stars [patents showing Intuitive Machines' innovative edge, as well as intrinsic value of their patent portfolio].

Intuitive Machines' impressive array of U.S. patents is a testament to their commitment to innovation and excellence in lunar exploration:

-> Lunar Lander with Integrated Propulsion System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that uses a single propulsion system for both orbit insertion and landing maneuvers, reducing mass and complexity. The propulsion system consists of a main engine and four thrusters that can be independently controlled and gimbaled to provide thrust and attitude control. The patent demonstrates that this design can increase the payload capacity and reliability of the lunar lander, as well as simplify the mission planning and execution.

-> Lunar Lander with Integrated Payload Module. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a detachable payload module that can be deployed on the lunar surface, allowing for multiple payloads to be delivered by a single lander. The payload module can also communicate with the lander and other modules via a wireless network, enabling data exchange and coordination. The patent demonstrates that this design can reduce the cost and complexity of lunar missions, as well as increase the flexibility and scalability of lunar exploration.

-> Lunar Lander with Integrated Solar Array. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a foldable solar array that can be deployed after landing, providing power for the lander and the payload module. The patent demonstrates that this design can extend the mission duration and capabilities of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the dependency on batteries and fuel cells.

-> Lunar Lander with Integrated Communications System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a high-gain antenna and a low-gain antenna that can communicate with Earth and other spacecraft, providing reliable and secure data transmission. The patent demonstrates that this design can enhance the scientific and commercial value of lunar missions, as well as enable future lunar networks and services.

-> Lunar Lander with Integrated Navigation System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a guidance, navigation, and control system that uses sensors, cameras, and algorithms to autonomously land on the lunar surface, avoiding hazards and achieving high accuracy. The patent demonstrates that this design can increase the safety and reliability of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the complexity and cost of the landing system.

-> Lunar Lander with Integrated Thermal Control System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a passive and active thermal control system that regulates the temperature of the lander and the payload module, ensuring optimal performance and survival in the harsh lunar environment. The patent demonstrates that this design can increase the mission duration and capabilities of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the power consumption and mass of the thermal system.

-> Lunar Lander with Integrated Power System. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has a power system that uses batteries, fuel cells, and solar panels to provide electrical power for the lander and the payload module, enabling long-duration missions and operations. The patent demonstrates that this design can increase the mission duration and capabilities of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the power consumption and mass of the power system.

-> Lunar Lander with Integrated Landing Legs. This patent covers a design for a lunar lander that has integrated landing legs that can absorb shock and provide stability on the lunar surface. The patent demonstrates that this design can increase the safety and reliability of the lunar lander, as well as reduce the mass and complexity of the landing system.

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From just released Form: 10-K (0001844452-24-000036 | 10-K | Intuitive Machines)

 

Item 1. Business

We are a space infrastructure and services company founded in 2013 that is contributing to the establishment of lunar infrastructure and commerce on the Moon. We believe we have a leading position in the development of lunar space operating in four business lines described further below. We are initially focused on establishing the lunar infrastructure and basis for commerce to inform and sustain human presence off Earth. We believe our business is well positioned for continued growth and expansion:

Right Now: Servicing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”) and a worldwide set of commercial payload customers, working to provide access to the lunar surface, cislunar space and data transmission for science, technology, and infrastructure.

Tomorrow: Working to provide a thriving, diverse lunar economy, creating new opportunities and markets to enable on-orbit applications, a permanent presence on the Moon, and expand the commercial space exploration marketplace.

We are currently working to provide access to the lunar surface and collect and transmit cislunar data for science, technology, and infrastructure. We are one of a select few companies servicing NASA and a worldwide set of commercial payload customers. We believe we have a strong position with a first mover advantage, as evidenced by three Commercial Lunar Payload Services (“CLPS”) awards to date as of December 31, 2023. On February 22, 2024, Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lander became the first U.S. vehicle to softly land on the lunar surface since 1972 and landed the vehicle further south than any vehicle in the world has ever soft-landed on the Moon. Our Nova-C lander on the IM-1 mission carried approximately 100 kilograms of payloads and shuttled numerous experiments and technology demonstrations at the lunar surface near the South Pole. Our goal is to follow the successful IM-1 mission with IM-2, which will continue to execute experiments and technology demonstrations at the Shackleton connecting ridge at the lunar South Pole, and IM-3, our third CLPS award, which will land at Reiner Gamma. These missions, along with additional expeditions, are in partnership with NASA, Nokia Corporation, Columbia Sportswear Company, Aegis Aerospace, Inc. and other commercial players. Intuitive Machines offers its customers the flexibility needed to pioneer a thriving, diverse lunar economy and to enable a permanent presence on the Moon.

Additionally, the U.S. Space Forces’ (the “Space Force”) requirement to ensure freedom of action in space is driving their initial focus on cislunar Space Domain Awareness sensors and xGEO Position Navigation and Timing solutions as a result of the ongoing efforts by the United States and the People’s Republic of China (“China”) to return to the lunar surface in a sustainable manner. We believe the U.S. Department of Defense funding for cislunar activities will drive the Space Force to rely on purchasing cislunar commercial services for the next five plus years, as opposed to acquiring and operating new government systems. This funding provides an opportunity for companies such as Intuitive Machines to sell Space Domain Awareness, Position Navigation and Timing, and secure communications to the Space Force, especially given that the commercial sector will be the driving force in providing cislunar products and services due to the capital that is flowing to new space entrants. This, along with other domestic and foreign allied policies, enhances our belief in the growing space economy and why we are well-positioned.

 

Our Industry

We believe the commercial lunar economy is poised for growth given a number of key factors, including reduced barriers to entry in space, rising geopolitical tensions, and growing demand and program funding from the U.S. government.

Reduced Barriers to Entry: The barriers to entry of the lunar economy have diminished significantly over the past decade. In particular, the costs of launch and lunar exploration have decreased meaningfully since the Apollo missions of the 1960s and early 1970s. Further, public-private partnerships, such as NASA’s commercial lunar payload contract program, are helping private companies pursue innovation and make lunar exploration more affordable than in past decades.

Rising Geopolitical Tensions: Additionally, there is geopolitical and policy alignment with the return to the Moon. As described in the 2022 Defense Intelligence Agency report titled Challenges to Security in Space, “China and Russia value superiority in space. As a result, we expect them to seek ways to strengthen their space and counterspace programs and determine ways to better integrate them into their respective militaries.” Specifically, the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program is already well underway. In 2020, Chang’e 5 successfully returned samples from the Moon. Over the next five years, three more Chang’e 5 missions are planned with the aim of generating products using lunar materials, a practice called in-situ resource utilization. The success of countries, such as, China, India and Japan, highlights the values placed on superiority in space by other countries, has ignited a 21st-century space race that is well underway.

Market Push: As a result of the aforementioned factors, government funding for lunar missions has significantly grown as evidenced by the NASA Artemis program (the “Artemis” program). The Artemis program is a bipartisan initiative to return humans to the Moon and eventually achieve human exploration of Mars. Unlike the Apollo program, the Artemis program is relying heavily upon partnership with the private sector in order to accomplish its goals in a more cost-effective manner. Total NASA spending on the Artemis program is expected to reach $93 billion by FY 2025, according to the NASA Office of Inspector General Office of Audits. The program aims to conduct its first human landing in FY 2026 and achieve a sustainable human presence on the Moon with a powered habitable base camp by the late 2020s. The $2.6 billion CLPS program that we lead was created to deliver scientific instruments to the Moon to gather data in preparation for the human landing and eventually to deliver support equipment for human presence. Beyond Artemis and CLPS, the Lunar Gateway and Tipping Point contracts are incremental evidence of the significant traction in the lunar market. Lunar Gateway is a series of three elements that will create a space station in lunar orbit scheduled to launch in 2024. Tipping Point is a NASA program that seeks industry-developed space technologies that can foster the development of commercial space capabilities and benefit future NASA missions.

 

Our Opportunity

We believe we are well-positioned to help ignite the cislunar economy by reducing cost of access while providing reliable missions on a defined schedule. We intend to accomplish this goal by integrating proven commercial technologies where they exist and solving the hardest problems in a vertically integrated manner. We believe we have already demonstrated success in this approach with our propulsion and Guidance, Navigation and Control (“GN&C”) systems, both of which were designed and are produced in-house. We believe that space is the next economic frontier and the increased demand from governments, intelligence agencies, commercial industries, and private individuals has created multiple avenues for long-term growth. We are strongly positioned to exploit this growing market and become a leader with our proprietary technologies and growing backlog of customers.

The end markets that we address includes annual spending associated with the 2024 President’s Budget of approximately $24.9 billion for NASA’s Space Exploration and $40.9 billion for U.S. National Security Space (which includes the Space Force and the Missile Defense Agency). In addition, Commercial Satellite Services spending reached approximately $113 billion during FY 2022, according to the 2023 State of the Satellite Industry Report provided by the Satellite Industry Association. Within these markets, our Lunar Services and Earth Orbital Services business units are the primary addressable markets and we believe represents a growing opportunity over the next decade.

Lunar Services: We expect crewed missions, infrastructure, transportation, robotics, communication, and science and technology as significant market drivers. Through our Lunar Access Services and Lunar Data Services business units, we believe we are well positioned to be able to grow our business through our lunar landers and market leading capabilities.

Orbital Services: We believe there are broad opportunities within the orbital services market segment, including life extension, robotics, salvage, Space Situational Awareness (SSA), de-orbiting, and relocation. Our Orbital Services business unit is being built to promote ancillary services, including satellite servicing and refueling, space station servicing, satellite repositioning, and orbital debris removal. We believe that deploying and supporting satellites in certain unique Earth orbits will allow us to optimize this market.

 

Our Business Units, Products and Services

We are a premier provider and supplier of space products and services that we believe will enable sustained robotic and human exploration to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Our core technologies underpin our capabilities in four business units: Lunar Access Services, Orbital Services, Lunar Data Services and Space Products and Infrastructure.

We expect to achieve leading time to market across these business lines driven by our short design to manufacture process, enabled through vertical integration and rapid iterative testing. This has been demonstrated with our GN&C and propulsion systems, which passed multiple validation tests in preparation for our first lunar mission as well as our operational lunar data network. These technologies can be leveraged to capture orbital services and we expect successful lunar landings will demonstrate our capability as an agile space company, supporting our continued expansion into Space Products and Infrastructure.

 

Lunar Access Services

We intend to utilize our proprietarily developed lunar lander vehicles to service CLPS contracts to fly NASA scientific equipment and commercial payloads to the lunar surface and support experiments.

Our Nova-C lander that flew on the IM-1 mission in February 2024 was the first U.S. vehicle to softly land on the lunar surface since 1972 and was the first object in human history to land at the South Pole. Powered by our proprietary engine, and replete with innovative avionics for advanced guidance, navigation and control, the Nova-C lander carried approximately 100 kilograms of payloads, and shuttled numerous technology demonstrations to the lunar surface. Our goal is for the IM-1 mission to be followed up by IM-2, which will continue to execute experiments and technology demonstrations, including deployment of the Moon’s first drill to test for water ice while also deploying our micro-Nova “hopper”, a drone to test the Nokia LTE network in space. The workhorse of the Nova-C lander is the VR900 LOX/Methane engine, which is a fully additively manufactured (3D printed) rocket engine, which we designed and manufacture in-house. Building off the solid framework of our Nova-C lander systems and structures, we have designed a scalable path for the development and construction of additional vehicles. The Nova-D lander intends to incorporate technologies developed for the Nova-C, and will have a projected payload capacity of 500-2500 kilograms. The Nova-D has completed System Definition Review (SDR). Our largest lander, the Nova-M, will rely on its two VR3500 engines to carry approximately 5,000-7,500 kilograms of payload to the lunar surface. Nova-M is a future development effort. These options are designed to afford flexibility for our customers as we pioneer a thriving, diverse lunar economy and enable a permanent presence on the Moon. Importantly, they are also all based on the same LOX/Methane engine, which is designed and manufactured in-house. We also offer lunar surface mobility through the lunar rocket-fueled drone, µNova. The µNova is a small robotic, deployable spacecraft that is designed to provide a novel type of mobility to reach extreme lunar environments, such as pits and craters. Acting as a payload on a lander like the Nova-C, µNova deploys once on the lunar surface and uses its own propulsion system to autonomously fly, or “hop,” between locations of interest. Capable of traveling up to 25 kilometers from its host lander with a payload of 5 kilograms, µNova enables a number of mission types, including regional surveys, prospecting of multiple dispersed sites, and accessing hard-to-reach locations like permanently shadowed regions, lunar pits, and craters. The technology is also designed to be scalable to provide similar access for larger payloads over a longer distance. The first µNova is intended to fly to the Moon on IM-2 and perform a demonstration mission at the lunar South Pole for the NASA Tipping Point program. As of December 31, 2023, the contracted value of our Lunar Access Services business unit includes $292.4 million of NASA CLPS and Tipping Point contracts, $25.1 million of commercial payloads, and $17.5 million of rideshares contracted on IM-1, IM-2, and IM-3. In addition, as of December 31, 2023, we have $1.6 million in commercial sponsorships and content sales, which provides us with another source of revenue outside of our core operations. Our three lunar missions are contracted to fly on SpaceX’s Falcon 9. Looking beyond our IM-3 mission, our contracted value for future missions is $28.9 million and includes commercial landed and rideshare payloads. This mission profile primes the market to expect an annual cadence of lunar access missions so customers can begin to prepare their payloads and business cases now for future missions. Revenue streams from lunar access are expected to include µNova, lunar surface rover services, fixed lunar surface services, lunar orbit delivery services, rideshare delivery services to lunar orbit, and content sales and marketing sponsorships.

 

Orbital Services

We will be operating missions and are currently developing technologies that are designed to enable services including satellite delivery and rideshare, satellite servicing and refueling, space station servicing, satellite repositioning, and orbital debris removal. Our Orbital Services business is designed to mainly support satellites and stations in Earth and lunar orbits. 

Our Orbital Services consists of leveraging our technologies and government funds to establish a foothold in capturing the growing orbital services market. The technologies we are working to leverage include mechanism and robotics capabilities, propulsion, Nova-C optical navigation, rendezvous and proximity operations, and satellite capture.

We have made significant progress to date in orbital services. Most recently in 2023, we were awarded as the prime contractor by NASA on the OMES III contract with a value of up to $720.0 million, where we will lead the NASA Landsat Servicing mission. Additionally, we were also awarded the Joint Energy Technology Supplying On-Orbit Nuclear Power contract (“JETSON”), that further expands our relationship with NASA and emphasizes our capabilities in key technology focus areas. We are also pursuing work with National Security Space in order to leverage domain expertise for demonstrations of orbital servicing, debris removal, rideshares, and Space Domain Awareness.

 

Lunar Data Services

We believe that our Lunar Data Services offering is made up of a validated and complete lunar communications solution. Our Lunar Data Network (“LDN”) consists of our Nova Control Lunar Operations Center, our existing global collection of dishes called the Lunar Telemetry, Tracking and Communications Network (“LTN”), and a planned Cislunar Relay Constellation (Khon Satellites comprising our Khonstellation) to be deployed on future missions. We intend to leverage our strategically positioned ground stations across Earth to offer continuous lunar coverage, facilitating secure lunar communications, navigation, and imagery. Providing Lunar Data Services is designed to allow us to provide lunar network services to NASA, the U.S. Space Force and commercial clients, which we believe will be an increasingly important priority given China’s recent declaration that they intend to build their own lunar satellite network. We believe that we are one of the few companies capable of providing a commercial lunar communication network as an alternative to NASA’s aging and overtasked Deep Space Network (DSN) assets, which we believe will allow connectivity with the far side of the Moon and support robotic and human missions to the South Pole of the Moon.

Our network is secured by layered levels of protection including advanced architecture, Crowdstrike endpoint and antivirus, and Splunk advanced Security Information & Event Management (“SIEM”) control. Our Nova Control Lunar Operations Center is a world-class control center located at our headquarters in Houston, Texas. Built from the ground up by our highly experienced team, Nova Control enables collaboration, innovation and seamless operations, in this 24-hour facility that was designed to provide tracking, telemetry and communications support for cislunar space and the surface of the Moon. 

Our lunar network can provide line of sight communication and will provide lunar South Pole and far-side coverage, lunar positioning services (GPS for the Moon), data relay, and data storage/caching. We continue to bid for contracts including our recent submission to NASA solicitation for Near Space Network Services, a ten-year multi-award contract for communication services direct to / from earth and data relay and navigation services in and around the vicinity of the moon.

 

Space Products and Infrastructure

This business unit includes propulsion systems, navigation systems, engineering services contracts, lunar mobility vehicles (rovers and drones), power infrastructure (Fission Surface Power), and human habitation systems.

With extensive manufacturing capabilities, an in-house composites shop, and robust machine shop, we are able to find solutions for the prototyping or production challenges our customers face. Our manufacturing facility currently houses two EOS M290 manufacturing machines capable of creating manufactured parts in several characterized materials, including Inconel (IN625) and Titanium (Ti64). Our facility also houses the IM 3D design studio and post processing facilities that enhance development of in-house, manufactured parts. With these capabilities, we are positioning ourselves to rapidly manufacture on-demand prototypes, development parts, flight units and spares with a focus on producing small series and high-quality serial productions of metal manufactured components.

We also have rich experience and unique capabilities with engines, ignitors, controllers, encoders, gimbals, and diverse test facilities that allow us to rapidly develop propulsion systems. We successfully test-fired our VR3500 Moon lander engine for over 600 seconds, breaking the continuous test duration record on Marshall Space Flight Center’s Test Stand 115 - within four months from contract award. Our LOX/Methane engines are unique for inspace propulsion, in that they have demonstrated safety in handling and testing here on the ground, as well as reliable performance in space, and will enable our vehicles to fly more direct trajectories to the Moon. This is important because higher performance allows us to transit the Van Allen belt once compared to lower thrust systems which require several transits, which greatly reduces the risk of damage to our vehicle avionics due to high energy particles (radiation). The workhorse of our engine fleet is the 900lbf thrust class VR900. This engine has undergone hundreds of hours of testing and design, and successfully powered our Nova-C lander to the lunar surface on IM-1 in February 2024. We also have engineered the VR3500 Engine. The VR3500 development and testing was performed on contract for Boeing’s Human Landing System (HLS) NextSTEP-2 in support of NASA’s Artemis program to return humans to the lunar surface. Our team designed, developed, built, and tested the engine within four months of contract award. This is an example of how our team combines innovation and experience to rapidly deliver results.

Our broad experience in automated systems includes avionics, communications, navigation, guidance and control systems, rendezvous and proximity operations, synthetic perception technology and human-machine interfaces. Specifically, our team brings extensive experience from NASA’s Morpheus and ALHAT (Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology) projects and the efforts of the Precision Landing and Hazard Avoidance (PLHA) community. We helped validate the Natural Feature Tracking (NFT) system for the OSIRIS-REx mission, which enabled precision landing on the asteroid Bennu. We have developed a PLHA system with Terrain Relative Navigation (TRN) using optical and laser measurements for precise and safe landing on a celestial body. We continue to mature our PLHA technology with the support of a nationwide academic network for incorporation into our Nova-C missions to the lunar surface in 2024 under the IM-1 missions.

We employ some of the industry’s most advanced software tools and processes to rapidly evolve and meet the complex and dynamic demands of our customers, and to build robust software solutions to ensure mission success. Concepts such as Agile software development, DevOps, and Digital Twins allows us to efficiently adapt our software to what is needed. From Low Earth Orbit to the lunar surface, we are capable of delivering complete mission solutions.

We have recently submitted a proposal to NASA to prime the Electrical Systems Engineering Support IV contract (“ESES”) that will expand our capabilities in this business unit.

 

Our Customers and Partners

We are an integral partner to our customers and partners. We execute on our commitments and develop solutions for our customers’ toughest challenges.

Our customers include, but are not limited to:

 

U.S. Government

 • NASA. We are partnered with NASA and service NASA through three missions to date under their CLPS contract program. We work to provide NASA with access to the lunar surface as well as cislunar data for science, technology, and infrastructure. The IM-2 mission is also contracted by NASA and will be the first spacecraft to drill for lunar ice. The mission will also be a part of NASA’s Tipping Point with the µNova Hopper.

 • U.S. Department of Defense. In 2023, we won our first significant award with the U.S. Department of Defense (“U.S. DoD”) Air Force Research Laboratory, a $9.5 million JETSON contract. 

 

Commercial

Our domestic customers for our first 3 missions include customers such as Columbia Sportswear Company, Nokia Corporation, Aegis Aerospace, Inc., and AstroForge.

 

International

Our international customers include international space agencies including our largest international customer, a contract for $16.8 million to provide lunar rover services.

 

Our Partners

We also have partners in the industry including:

 • KBR. KBR, Inc. (“KBR”) is a U.S.-based science, technology and engineering firm. In the ordinary course of business, we regularly provide engineering services to KBR. KBR also owns a 10% interest in Space Network Solutions (“SNS”), one of our operating subsidiaries. The SNS joint venture won the OMES III contract on April 18, 2023 to conduct servicing of NASA’s LandSat-7. In May 2023, Science Applications International Corp., which previously held the OMES II contract, filed a bid to protest the grant of the contract to SNS. The U.S Government Accountability Office affirmed NASA’s decision on the OMES III contract in August 2023.

 • X-energy. X-energy is a nuclear reactor and fuel design engineering company, developing Generation IV high-temperature gas cooled nuclear reactors and TRISO-X fuel to power them. We are partnered with them in a joint venture in the pursuit of nuclear space propulsion and surface power systems in support of future exploration goals, and has received one of three awards from NASA to design a 40kW fission surface power system for the lunar surface. We and X-energy are currently executing the fission surface power design contract through a joint venture called IX, LLC. Dr. Kamal Ghaffarian, our co-founder and chairman of our Board, is a co-founder and current member of management of X-energy.

 • Jacobs. Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (“Jacobs”) is a U.S.-based technical, engineering and science firm that provides services for a broad range of clients globally including companies, organizations, and government agencies. We are partnered with Jacobs under a teaming agreement and subcontract for NASA’s JSC Engineering, Technology, and Science program (“JETS Program”).

 • Boeing Airplane & Transport Corporation. Boeing Airplane & Transport Corporation (“Boeing”) is a U.S. -based global aerospace company that develops, manufactures, and services commercial airplanes, defense products, and space systems. In 2023, we bid as a prime and partnered with Boeing on NASA’s Lunar Terrain service bid to develop NASA’s next generation lunar terrain vehicle for exploration and development on the Moon.

 • Northrop Grumman Corporation. Northrop is a U.S.-based global aerospace and defense technology company. We are teaming up with Northrop and several other leading companies to design a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (“LTV”) to transport NASA’s Artemis astronauts around the lunar surface. We will build our capability developed through NASA’s CLPS initiative to meet NASA and commercial demand for larger lunar surface payload delivery. Our Nova-D spacecraft utilizes four liquid methane/oxygen engines from the mature Nova-C program for precision landing on the Moon.

 • Maxar Intelligence - Maxar Intelligence, is a provider of secure, precise, geospatial intelligence. We are teaming with Maxar on various Space Products & Infrastructure contracts, including as a subcontractor under the OMES III contract recently awarded to Space Network Solutions, LLC joint venture and the fission surface power contract executed by IX, LLC joint venture.

 

Our Competitive Position

We believe we are well positioned to become a leading player in a fast growing market. Our competitive strengths include:

• First Mover Advantage: We are a first mover in a new category with an untapped addressable market according to Northern Sky Research’s (“NSR”) 2022 Moon Markets and Earth Orbital Services Market Analysis reports. We are a ten year technology and space company and is in the leading position in NASA’s return to the Moon with approximately $79.5 million in 2023 fiscal year revenues. We believe we are also a first mover in lunar transport and communications systems. We also believe that we have an established, highly defensible, and scalable technology position providing lunar transport, landing, and data relay services.

 • Contracting TAM Well Beyond NASA: The accessible total addressable market for us is approximately $120.0 billion over the next decade according to NSR. Our total addressable market includes the U.S. DoD and Space Force spending, along with spending by the U.S. intelligence community, which have prioritized the Moon via strong bipartisan support, especially given recent geopolitical developments and the race to space from Russia and China. Our total addressable market is underpinned by large end markets, including space exploration, national security space, and commercial satellite services.

 • Differentiated Technology Offering: We have innovated key technology and lunar features and capabilities, including: LOX and Methane Propulsion, Optical NAV System, Lunar Communications, RE-Entry and Landing, RPO and Capture and Extreme Surface Mobility.

 • High Quality Business Model: We have significant intellectual property assets and high return on invested capital at scale with a durable growth trajectory and margin expansion in a non-cyclical sector. We are growing from $8 million in revenue in 2018 to $79.5 million in revenue in 2023, and with approximately $268.6 million in contracted backlog as of December 31, 2023, with the expectation and belief that we will continue to secure sizeable near-term awards in the near future. Our revenue is expected to transition from government contracts to commercial services sales through successful missions showcasing capabilities as the cislunar economy develops and as we mature as a company.

 • World-class Management Team: Our management team possesses a valuable combination of experience and vision. In addition to their technical knowledge, our team has extensive experience operating and leading companies and a strong track-record of building market making businesses.

 

Our Growth Strategy

We are pursuing the following growth strategies:

Continuing to build on first mover advantage in lunar transport: We are a company of firsts. Our first mission was IM-1, and became the first commercial lander on the Moon, the first ever mission to the South Pole of the Moon, and the first U.S. lander on the Moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Our second mission for IM-2 is also being designed to achieve a multitude of firsts: first to drill for water ice on the Moon, first to develop and operate a lunar hopper in history, and first to deploy a data relay satellite in lunar orbit. Some of our other firsts from missions and accomplishments include: first to utilize a cryogenic propulsion system for deep space missions, first to work with a commercial partner to deliver lunar payloads, first to establish a commercial lunar and deep space communications network, and first to partner with JSC Astro-Materials Curations Office to certify lunar material. We also intend to build on our first mover advantage gained through these accomplishments and leverage them into positions on new contracts in the future.

Enhancing capabilities and pursuing opportunities in adjacent lunar markets: We intend to scale and expand our existing capabilities in order to provide a complete suite of lunar economy services. This offering is designed to include products and services critical to Commercial Landers, Lunar Data Services, Crewed Lunar Missions, Lunar Transportation Services, Lunar Terrain Vehicle Services, Lunar Power Services, and Lunar Habitats.

Pursuing orbital services opportunities: We intend to leverage our technologies and government funds to establish a foothold in the orbital services market. Some of our key technologies, such as robotics, Nova-C optical navigation and Rendezvous Proximity Operations and Capture (“RPOC”), and satellite capture, have enabled key progress towards this aim to date. This progress includes rideshare contracts and two licensed NASA active debris removal patents. 

Leveraging capabilities in the lunar and satellite services market: We plan to leverage government contract successes such as the OMES III award to build a commercial customer base and develop the industry partnerships required for our next phase of growth. Leveraging these government contracts as well as our differentiated capabilities will allow us to establish a foothold in the emerging satellite servicing market.

 

Our Competition

Competition in our addressable market is mainly divided between incumbents, such as Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin who pursue larger, more complex contracts such as manned lunar missions, and next generation players, including our competitors on the CLPS contract such as Astrobotic, Draper Laboratories, and Firefly Aerospace.

 

Our Operations

Sales: Our sales organization operates directly and via our extensive customer and partner network, which spans across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Our partner network consists of our rideshare delivery providers, lunar surface mobility providers, payload providers, communication satellite provider, and ground segment providers. The main responsibilities for our sales organization include ensuring contract renewals, maintaining relationships and expanding business with existing customers and partners, and acquiring new customers. We have deep expertise in capture efforts with the government customers, and have established processes to succeed with such customers. We leverage extensive existing relationships as well as our partner network and direct sales efforts to continue to win and grow business with commercial customers. We work closely with our customers and partners to enable their success. Deeper adoption from our customers comes in many forms, including delivery of payloads to lunar orbit and the lunar surface, data and data relay services for users in the lunar vicinity, orbital services, lunar surface infrastructure, and space products and services.

Research and Development: Our research and development (“R&D”) team is integrated across our engineering organization to leverage the best engineers within each discipline and prevent stovepipes within our technology, yielding fully integrated systems that reduce time to market. Our R&D scope includes company rollover, acquisition, optimizing capital structure, and general corporate purposes. Our R&D team is also responsible for developing and innovating our proprietary technology platform.

We continue to invest in R&D, particularly as it relates to “survive the night” and our larger lander design to make our platform more accessible to a wider range of customers, as well as innovating our space technology to capture various types of data efficiently.

Marketing: Our marketing team utilizes a multi-channel approach to develop and increase our brand awareness, position and communicate the value of our differentiated offering, and develop engaging outbound demand-generation campaigns. The team drives our overall market positioning and messaging across our key audiences and vertical markets, as well as provides strategic go-to-market assessments of use cases that emerge from new product capabilities and the market landscape. Our communications team works with targeted industry influencers and media outlets to drive interest through media channels, including blogs, social media, and video. This approach is important for our strategy to capture the entire market opportunity encompassing not only NASA and U.S. DoD, but also commercial aerospace and non-traditional customer segments engaged in partnership and content activity, who value brand activation from these engagements.

 

Supply Chain

Our ability to manufacture and operate our spacecraft is dependent upon sufficient availability of raw materials and supplied components including avionics, flight computers, radios, electrical power systems and fuel tanks. We obtain raw materials and components from suppliers that we believe to be reputable and reliable. We have established and follow internal quality control processes to source suppliers, considering quality, cost, delivery and lead-time. We instill responsibility for quality at the lead level to ensure our suppliers and internally built hardware meet the required quality standards. While we largely source raw materials and components from multiple sources, in some cases raw materials and components are sourced from a limited number of suppliers. In these situations, as we endeavor to diversify our supply chain, we manage this risk through using material requirements planning, including material forecasting and planning, safety stock, and bulk and advance buying with focused efforts on long-lead items. 

 

Manufacturing, Assembly and Operations

We have an integrated manufacturing facility in Houston, TX which includes our corporate headquarters and our Lunar Production and Operations Center (“LPOC”) at the Houston Spaceport at Ellington Airport which was completed in late 2023. The LPOC serves as a production and testing facility of lunar lander components and other aerospace related operations and features tiered storage, an advanced loading dock, and a production area with 45-foot ceilings and crane capable of handling all Nova Lunar Lander designs. The manufacturing capability supports R&D, rapid prototyping and flight level hardware in an integrated and disciplined manner applying the correct level of rigor to the appropriate process. We leverage a strong culture of personal accountability to ensure efficiency and world class results of operations within our operations group. We are ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D certified and adhere to the appropriate quality and process controls on a continuous basis. See “Item 2 Properties” for further discussion of our facilities.

 

Human Capital

As of December 31, 2023, we had 382 employees throughout our operations. We value technical expertise, original thinking, adaptability, and a willingness to collaborate with our excellent team. While our original workforce is rooted in aerospace, we welcome new perspectives and technology expertise as we grow. Intuitive Machines’ People Strategy strives to keep pace with our organization’s pioneering spirit, and specialized technologies, products and talent. Execution belongs to all of leadership, as we shape IM for future growth while retaining our culture. Our People Strategy is supported by competitive compensation and benefits and we have recently revamped our total rewards programs. We further focus efforts on championing inclusion and diversity, so that all IM employees can bring their authentic selves to work. In addition, we are proud supporters of our veterans and active-duty employees. 

 

Intellectual Property

The protection of our technology and intellectual property is an important aspect of our business. We rely upon a combination of trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, license agreements, confidentiality procedures, contractual commitments and other legal rights to establish and protect our intellectual property. We enter into confidentiality agreements and invention or work product assignment agreements with our employees and consultants to control access to, and clarify ownership of, our proprietary information. We continually review and update our intellectual property portfolio to help ensure that we have adequate protections and rights. 

 

Government and Environmental Regulations

 

Government Regulations 

Compliance with various governmental regulations has an impact on our business, including our capital expenditures, earnings and competitive position, which can be material. We incur or will incur costs to monitor and take actions to comply with governmental regulations that are or will be applicable to our business, which include, among others, federal securities laws and regulations, applicable stock exchange requirements, export and import control, economic sanctions and trade embargo laws and restrictions and regulations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, FAA, FCC and other government agencies in the United States.

We contract with U.S. government agencies and entities, principally NASA, which requires that we comply with various laws and regulations relating to the formation, administration and performance of contracts. U.S. government contracts are generally subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (the “FAR”), which sets forth policies, procedures and requirements for the acquisition of goods and services by the U.S. government, other agency-specific regulations that implement or supplement the FAR and other applicable laws and regulations. These regulations impose a broad range of requirements, many of which are unique to government contracting, including various procurement, import and export, security, contract pricing and cost, contract termination and adjustment and audit requirements. Depending on the contract, these laws and regulations require, among other things:

 • certification and disclosure of all cost and pricing data in connection with certain contract negotiations;

 • defining allowable and unallowable costs and otherwise govern our right to reimbursement under various cost-type U.S. government contracts;

 • compliance with Cost Accounting Standards for U.S. government contracts (“CAS”);

 • reviews by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (“DCAA”), Defense Contract Management Agency (“DCMA”) and other regulatory agencies for compliance with a contractor’s business systems;

 • restricting the use and dissemination of and require the protection of unclassified contract-related information and information classified for national security purposes and the export of certain products and technical data; and

 • prohibiting competing for work if an actual or potential organizational conflict of interest, as defined by these laws and regulations, related to such work exists and/or cannot be appropriately mitigated, neutralized or avoided.

We perform work under cost-reimbursable contracts with NASA and other U.S. governmental agencies. If the U.S. government concludes costs charged to a contract are not reimbursable under the terms of the contract or applicable procurement regulations, these costs are disallowed or, if already reimbursed, we may be required to refund the reimbursed amounts to the customer. Such conditions may also include interest and other financial penalties. If performance issues arise under any of our government contracts, the customer retains the right to pursue remedies, which could include termination under any affected contract. Generally, our customers have the contractual right to terminate or reduce the amount of work under our contracts at any time.

Further, our business is subject to, and we must comply with, stringent U.S. import and export control laws, including the International Trade in Arms Regulations administered by the U.S. Department of State (“ITAR”) and the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”). See “Risk Factors - Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry” for a discussion of material risks to us, including, to the extent material, to our competitive position, relating to governmental regulations, and see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation” together with our consolidated financial statements, including the related notes included therein, for a discussion of material information relevant to an assessment of our financial condition and results of operations, including, to the extent material, the effects that compliance with governmental regulations may have upon our capital expenditures and earnings.

Further, our business is subject to, and we must comply with, stringent U.S. import and export control laws, including the International Trade in Arms Regulations administered by the U.S. Department of State (“ITAR”) and the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”). See “Risk Factors - Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry” for a discussion of material risks to us, including, to the extent material, to our competitive position, relating to governmental regulations, and see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation” together with our consolidated financial statements, including the related notes included therein, for a discussion of material information relevant to an assessment of our financial condition and results of operations, including, to the extent material, the effects that compliance with governmental regulations may have upon our capital expenditures and earnings.

 

Environmental Regulations

We are subject to various federal, state, provincial, local, and international environmental laws and regulations relating to the operation of our business, including those governing pollution, the handling, storage, disposal and transportation of hazardous substances and the cleanup of contamination should it arise. The imposition of more stringent standards or requirements under environmental laws or regulations or a determination that we are responsible for a release of hazardous substances at our sites could result in significant costs, including cleanup costs, fines, sanctions, and third-party claims. In addition, we could be affected by future regulations imposed in response to concerns over climate change, other aspects of the environment or natural resources. At this time, we do not believe that federal, state, and local laws and regulations relating to the discharge of materials into the environment, or otherwise relating to the protection of the environment, or any existing or pending climate change legislation, regulation, or international treaties or accords are reasonably likely to have a material effect in the foreseeable future on our business. 

 

Available Information

Our website address is www.intuitivemachines.com. The contents of, or information accessible through, our website are not incorporated by reference herein and are not a part of this Annual Report. We make our filings with the SEC, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and all amendments to those reports, as well as beneficial ownership filings available free of charge on our website under the “Investors” section as soon as reasonably practicable after we file such reports with, or furnish such reports to, the SEC. 

We may use our website as a distribution channel of material information about us. Financial and other important information regarding the Company is routinely posted on and accessible through the Investors section of our website at www.investors.intuitivemachines.com.

March 23, 2024 | Permalink

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