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Intuitive Machines (LUNR) -led Moon RACER Team Awarded NASA Lunar Terrain Vehicle Contract to Support the Agency’s Artemis Campaign

April 3, 2024 4:13 PM

NASA has awarded Intuitive Machines, Inc. (Nasdaq: LUNR, LUNRW) (“Intuitive Machines”) (“Company”) $30 million as a prime contractor to complete a Lunar Terrain Vehicle Services Feasibility Assessment. The contract tasks the Company’s global team with creating a feasibility roadmap to develop and deploy a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (“LTV”) on the Moon using Intuitive Machines’ Nova-D cargo-class lunar lander. The first phase award marks the Company’s entrance into human spaceflight operations within NASA’s $4.6 billion LTV Services project.

“This procurement strategically aligns with the Company’s flight-proven capability to deliver payloads to the surface of the Moon under the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, further solidifying our position as a proven commercial contractor in lunar exploration,” said Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus. “Our global team is on a path to provide essential lunar infrastructure services to NASA in a project that would allow the Company to retain ownership of the vehicle for commercial utilization during periods of non-NASA activity over approximately ten years of lunar surface activity.”

Intuitive Machines’ Moon Reusable Autonomous Crewed Exploration Rover (RACER) global team partners, including AVL, Boeing, Michelin, and Northrop Grumman, intend to provide a robust LTV design architecture with advanced power management, autonomous driving, communications, and navigation systems for lunar exploration.

The Company believes the Moon RACER team is the most comprehensively equipped choice for delivering and deploying a lunar terrain vehicle that meets NASA requirements. As the prime contractor, Intuitive Machines intends to apply its experience as the only United States commercial company to deliver science and technology data from the surface of the Moon to lead systems integration, spacecraft design, energy management, avionics, autonomous navigation, sensors, controls, mission planning, operations, and training with the following teammate capabilities.

AVL, a global mobility technology company and automotive industry leader in the development, simulation, and testing of vehicle systems brings its expertise in battery electric vehicles, propulsion solutions and autonomous driving. Specifically, AVL will focus on drivetrain, steering and suspension to help make lunar surface mobility a reality. AVL’s scalable expert development tools and technologies will help design, test and power a lunar terrain vehicle in extreme environments associated with the Moon and beyond.

Boeing will lead the design of the LTV system and support the overall design, fabrication, testing, integration, mission planning, and operations of the flight vehicle and both static and dynamic mockups.

Michelin will leverage the experience gained from previous collaborations with NASA and its expertise in airless technology and high-tech materials to take up the challenge of designing a lunar wheel able to operate at temperatures above 100°C and below -240°C, withstand exposure to solar and galactic radiation, ensure maximum longevity and traction on aggressive loose soil. Michelin believes that the technical developments and scientific advances that will be made as part of this project will enable the Group to continue to innovate in terrestrial applications.

Northrop Grumman will leverage its experience in power systems, other vehicle systems, and mission planning and training.

The Lunar Terrain Vehicle Services vehicle is a major element in returning humans to the lunar surface under NASA’s Artemis campaign and demonstrating continued American leadership in space exploration.

NASA’s LTV Services project contract holds a total program value of more than $4 billion and is structured across two phases with multiple potential awardees. Intuitive Machines expects to bid on the phase two LTV services award after completing the phase one feasibility assessment award. The phase two award is earmarked for developing, delivering, and operating the LTV to the Moon. As the Company continues demonstrating its capability and reliability in lunar operations, the LTV services award is anticipated to focus on continuously delivering infrastructure supporting both NASA’s Artemis campaign and commercial interests.

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