Moon lander company announces $20 million equity investment
Its Nova-C lander (pictured) – chosen by Nasa to deliver small commercial payloads to the lunar surface in the upcoming IM-1 mission – will return the United States to the Moon for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972, the company highlights.
It said the proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes and working capital needs as it “ramps activity across key growth programs”.
CFO Erik Sallee said that, given the timing of milestone-based payments, the company elected “to strengthen our balance sheet defensively” as it executes new programmes.
“We continue to execute and lead the development of lunar space with the expected launch of IM-1 mid-November, and IM-2, IM-3 launches in 2024,” said CEO and co-founder Steve Altemus.
“In addition, we have started the transition of NASA’s $719 million OMES III contract and expect revenue to begin in Q4. This equity investment will help ensure a smooth transition and provide the working capital needed to execute for our customer on day 1.”
In July, NASA’s Space Technology and Mission Directorate (STMD) awarded a $15 million Tipping Point initiative contract to a Zeno Power-led team, which included Intuitive Machines.
The award was for the development of a Radioisotope Power System (RPS) designed to enable lunar assets to survive and operate during the lunar night and in permanently shadowed regions of the Moon.
The Nova-C Lander is a hexagonal cylinder – 4.0 meters tall and 1.57 meters wide – on 6 landing legs with a launch mass of 1908 kg.
It is capable of carrying approximately 100 kg of payload to the surface, says Nasa, and uses solar panels to generate 200 W of power on the surface, using a 25 amp-hr battery and a 28 VDC system.
Propulsion and landing use liquid methane as fuel and liquid oxygen as an oxidizer powering a 3100 N main engine mounted on the bottom of the lander.
Communications are via S-band. The scientific payload includes the Laser Retro-Reflector Array (LRA), Navigation Doppler Lidar for Precise Velocity and Range Sensing (NDL), Lunar Node 1 Navigation Demonstrator (LN-1), Stereo Cameras for Lunar Plume-Surface Studies (SCALPSS), and Radio wave Observation at the Lunar Surface of the photoElectron Sheath (ROLSES).
With five NASA and four commercial payloads, it is due to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral and go into a 185 x 60,000 km Earth orbit, followed by a translunar injection and a maneuver to put it in a 100 km lunar orbit. The lander is then planned land on the Moon on the rim of Malapert A crater near its south pole.
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Intuitive Machines was founded in 2013 by Stephen Altemus, Kam Ghaffarian and Tim Crain. Its lunar program includes providing lunar surface access, lunar orbit delivery, and communications at lunar distance.
It has four business units: Lunar Access Services, Orbital Services, Lunar Data Services, and Space Products and Infrastructure.
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