Remarks From Intuitive Machines' President and CEO, Steve Altemus


Welcome and thank you. Councilmember Alcorn, Houston Airport Systems, Burns & McDonnell, Griffin Partners, BAHEP, the state of Texas, and the determined people who embody what it means to be Space City.

Back in 2012, I had this idea for a think tank company. I remember I was in DC interviewing for an advanced nuclear reactor company with Dr. Kam Ghaffarian. We were at a local restaurant having dinner when he pointedly asked me, "what are you passionate about, Steve?" I started scribbling on a napkin and said, what do you think about this idea to take human spaceflight engineering methodologies and apply them in an entrepreneurial way to solve intractable problems around the world? Kam said, "it would be a shame for the music in your head not to be played, let's do this!" That was my idea for a company, which was the start of Intuitive Machines as a partnership and company.


The following year, the core of us stepped out of the gates of Johnson Space Center and said, "let's build our company right here in Houston." It was always Houston.


In the early years, we developed and manufactured medical devices, long-range autonomous drones, and drilling simulators for oil and gas.


I remember the day it all changed. Our Co-founder, Dr. Tim Crain, and I were on a flight back from Delaware after winning a significant contract dispute when we found out NASA was recommitting itself to returning to the Moon. I will never forget looking at Tim and saying, "the Moon is back in play, baby!"


Since that flight touched down in Space City in 2018, Intuitive Machines has been laser-focused on reestablishing the United States' foothold on the ultimate high ground, the Moon.


NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, or CLPS, has been a catalyst for Intuitive Machines becoming the first commercial company to land on the Moon. Completing our robotic missions to the Moon lays the foundation for Artemis, which will take our next step as a species on the Moon. We take that responsibility seriously at Intuitive Machines. Our focus to deliver payloads for NASA and commercial customers is what brings us here today.


Look around; this is the original spaceport. Intuitive Machines was its first tenant, and this is where we started building a complete lunar program. From our lander engine, 3D printed in this building, to the world's first commercially available deep space communications network, and command center, Nova Control. We are at the forefront of returning to the Moon in a sustainable way that unlocks the lunar economy the same way we commercialized low-Earth orbit.


Right now, we are eight months away from launching our first mission to the Moon. We're eighteen months from our second mission, which will make Intuitive Machines the first to ever land on the Moon's South Pole. While there, we'll become the first to drill for water ice, explore uncharted lunar craters, and use 4G LTE to communicate on the Moon. The demand for achieving these remarkable feats has stretched the limits of our current building. In fact, we have overgrown. So, thank you, Sallie Kay, and the San Jac Edge Center, for providing a pipeline of trained aerospace technicians and for letting us borrow some of your space.


From a napkin in 2012 to moving into this spaceport in 2018, and our new home starting today, we grew up as a company alongside spaceport Houston, and we continue to grow as spaceport Houston grows. We chose to partner with the city, Houston Airports, and San Jacinto College because this is our home. A place surrounded by family, friends, and people of true grit. Whether it's a flood, pandemic, or landing on the Moon, Space City doesn't back down from a challenge. This new building is Intuitive Machines accepting one of humanity's greatest challenges. Thank you.


-Steve Altemus

President & CEO




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via Intuitive Machines


Communication between Earth and the Moon is a monumental 239,000-mile task, and Intuitive Machines (IM) is leading the way in pioneering this cislunar economic opportunity. IM selected a York Space Systems S-CLASS satellite with a lunar communications payload to launch on its upcoming IM-2 lunar South Pole mission scheduled for late 2022. The satellite will orbit the Moon to provide communications like a satellite that orbits Earth.


"Establishing the first node in a lunar communication and navigation network is the key to unlocking the next economic frontier, the cislunar economy," said IM President and CEO Steve Altemus.

"We are in a phenomenal position to deliver payloads to lunar orbit with each of our surface missions," said Altemus. "With an annual launch cadence, we're able to establish the first lunar communications satellite and return reliably to finish the entire network around the Moon."


About IM-2: A Mission of Firsts

In addition to being the first to establish a lunar communications network, Intuitive Machines' second mission to the Moon will set the stage for future robotic exploration and pave the way for the first woman and person of color to set foot on the lunar surface. IM-2 will be the first spacecraft to ever land on the lunar South Pole. After sticking the landing, IM's spacecraft, Nova-C, will become the first to drill for lunar ice and deploy a rover to demonstrate 4G LTE communication on the lunar surface. During surface operations, IM's µNova will demonstrate extreme lunar mobility. µNova will be the first spacecraft to explore deep craters on the Moon's surface.


About Intuitive Machines

Intuitive Machines' complete lunar program unlocks the lunar economy to explore the solar system further and gain knowledge for the progress of humanity. As the premier provider of space services and technologies, Intuitive Machines is reestablishing the United States' dominance on the ultimate high ground, the Moon. Designed by the greatest minds in spaceflight, IM's lunar program will send the first American spacecraft to the Moon since the Apollo program and send the first spacecraft ever to reach the Lunar South Pole.


About York Space Systems

York Space Systems was founded to radically improve spacecraft affordability and reliability and is leading the industry in transforming and enabling next-generation space mission operations worldwide. York specializes in rapid production of complete mission-ready spacecraft platforms leveraging commercial development applied to numerous government and commercial missions. York’s complete solution includes spacecraft production, payload integration, system integration and test, launch services, ground segment services, and mission operations. By leveraging York’s existing technology solutions customers can rapidly and responsively get to orbit outpacing competitors. York’s proven S-CLASS and LX-CLASS platforms are standardized 3-axis stabilized spacecraft executing ISR, remote proximity, weather, and communication missions for a wide variety of government and commercial customers. It is fully compatible with most launch vehicles, including ground and air-launched, and ground segment providers. When combined with York’s cloud-based mission tasking and autonomous operations center, customers get an ultra-low-cost solution for on-demand data collection and analytics

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Intuitive Machines' focus is reestablishing the United States' dominance on the ultimate high ground, the Moon. They believe in the knowledge to gain for the progress of humanity, and fulfilling that belief starts with expanding its footprint at the Houston Spaceport. Starting in 2023, Intuitive Machines will transition from its current spaceport facility into the bold new 125,000 square feet building where they will build, command, and communicate with more hardware that will go to the Moon in the most significant facility the company has ever had.


"We grew up as a company alongside Spaceport Houston, and we continue to grow as Spaceport Houston grows," said IM President and CEO Steve Altemus. "My partners, Dr. Tim Crain and Dr. Kam Ghaffarian, and I chose Houston because of its diverse talent, rapidly growing innovation ecosystem, and deep-rooted connection to spaceflight. Houston is our home, a place surrounded by family, friends, and people of true grit. Whether it is a flood, pandemic, or landing on the Moon, Space City does not back down from a challenge, and this building is Intuitive Machines accepting one of humanity's greatest challenges."

Intuitive Machines' Moon landing in the first quarter of 2022 starts an annual launch cadence delivering both NASA and commercial payloads on and around the Moon. Demand for the company's complete lunar program, from moon lander to deep-space communications, requires expanding into the near 12.5-acre plot at the Houston Spaceport entrance.


"We are thrilled that Intuitive Machines has decided to further invest in the tremendous aerospace ecosystem at Houston Spaceport," Houston Airports Director of Aviation Mario Diaz said. "I believe Intuitive Machines is a real-life Houston success story that hits to the core of Houston Spaceport's mission – to create a focal point for aerospace innovation with a cluster of aerospace companies that will lead the nation in the transition from a government-focused to a commercially-driven space program."


The project will vest in the city on a brick-by-brick basis, with reimbursement of the project costs by the city, for a not-to-exceed total cost of $40 million.


About Intuitive Machines


Intuitive Machines' complete lunar program unlocks the lunar economy to explore the solar system further and gain knowledge for the progress of humanity. As the premier provider of space services and technologies, Intuitive Machines is reestablishing the United States' dominance on the ultimate high ground, the Moon. Designed by the greatest minds in spaceflight, IM's lunar program will send the first American spacecraft to the Moon since the Apollo program and send the first spacecraft ever to reach the Lunar South Pole.

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