Intuitive Machines Announces Plans to Go Public

Intuitive Machines Nova-C mission render
Nova-C mission render. Image: Intuitive Machines

Space SPACs…are still alive!

Houston-headquartered Intuitive Machines said today that it intends to go public, by merging early next year with Inflection Point Acquisition Corp ($IPAX). Assuming the two can take the transaction to the finish line, upon de-SPAC, the lunar lander startup will be listed on the Nasdaq. 

Key #s

The transaction will generate $330M in gross proceeds and grant the combined entity an enterprise value of $815M. Intuitive has secured $55M in committed capital and a $50M equity facility from a Cantor Fitzgerald affiliate. The company’s contracted backlog stands at $188M and management has guided to ~$102M in 2022 revenue (and $291M next year). 

Org chart

Intuitive Machines is split up across four divisions. 

  1. Lunar access services—The company aims to transport cargo to the Moon with its proprietary lander, and envisions serving both government and commercial clients. 
  2. Lunar data services—Intuitive Machines is planning to link six “strategically positioned” ground stations with a future lunar constellation. 
  3. Orbital services—This division spans satellite rideshare, orbital transportation, and largely unrealized space logistics segments like refueling and debris removal.
  4. Space products and infrastructure—This is a bit of a grab bag: propulsion, navigation, specialty engineering services, lunar mobility products, fission surface power, and human-rated systems. 

Seizing the moment

As we gear up for our return to the Moon after 50 years, “what’s different this time is that the US government has astutely chosen to utilize partnerships with the private sector to accomplish its goals more quickly and more cost-effectively,” said Kam Ghaffarian, cofounder and executive chairman of Intuitive Machines. Ghaffarian also started Axiom, X-energy, and IBX. 

We are in a leading position in the development of lunar space, to be for the Moon what steamships, toll roads, and rail companies were to Earth economies,” Intuitive Machines cofounder and CEO Steve Altemus said in a press release.  

The Nova mission control center. Image: Intuitive Machines

CLPS context and mission prep

Intuitive Machines is a leading, card-carrying member of the NASA-backed CLPS class of commercial lunar landers. Its Nova-C lander concept is a cylindrical capsule with six legs, capable of carrying 100 kg to the lunar surface. 

NASA has embraced a “shots on goal” mentality with CLPS, and it’s a safe bet that many of the program’s missions won’t make it to the Moon. That said, Intuitive Machines’ lander looks like one of the more promising shots on goal, and the company says it is leading America’s return to the Moon. The IM-1 mission is scheduled to launch aboard a Falcon 9 no earlier than Q1 2023. It will carry five payloads to Oceanus Procellarum, a dark spot on the lunar surface.

What we’ll be watching for…

  1. Mission prep with IM-1
  2. The first launch and landing of Nova-C
  3. Redemption rates for $IPAX shareholders 
  4. Intuitive + Inflection closing the transaction (exp. Q1 2023)
  5. The market’s reception to a publicly traded lunar developer
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