More Than Brick and Mortar

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