Instinctive Machines states it is all set to fly to the Moon

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An artist's rendering of the Nova-C spacecraft on the lunar surface.

A Houston-based business that is one of a number of United States companies constructing personal lunar landers, Intuitive Machines, says its 3-meter-tall Nova-C lander is lastly ready to take to the skies.

"Our Nova-C lander is totally built," said Steve Altemus, co-founder and chief executive of Intuitive Machines, in a revenues call on Monday. "We will deliver a lunar lander prepared to enter September."

Intuitive Machines is competing with other US business, including Astrobotic and Firefly, for NASA-funded objectives to provide science experiments and other payloads to the surface of the Moon. Intuitive Machines and Astrobotic were officially granted the very first of these "Commercial Lunar Payload Services" contracts in May 2019. Each of the business is running a couple of years behind schedule in producing their landers, however.

Astrobotic announced earlier this year that its Peregrine lander was finished and ready for its flight. Nevertheless, the spacecraft has not yet been delivered from its factory in Pittsburgh to the launch site in Florida due to the fact that United Launch Alliance has actually not completed screening of its new Vulcan rocket. That mission, according to sources, might release as early as mid-December.

Intuitive Machines has been lagging a bit behind Astrobotic today appears to have caught up. Since it has actually booked a ride on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, Intuitive Machines has the benefit of a lorry that flies frequently and dependably-- SpaceX has actually currently released more than 50 Falcon 9 rockets throughout this year.

The Intuitive and astrobotic Machines missions are part of a flurry of activity anticipated on the lunar surface within the next numerous months.

The road to launch

Throughout the earnings call, Altemus said Intuitive Machines will carry out about 2 weeks of flight software application testing in Houston, followed by electro-magnetic interference tests to ensure that spacecraft operations do not have an adverse effect on the car's 5 NASA payloads or those for industrial consumers. Finally, there will be a center-of-gravity measurement prior to the Nova-C lander is shipped to the Florida launch site in one month.

Altemus stated pre-launch processing at SpaceX's facilities at Kennedy Space Center, consisting of fueling the spacecraft and encapsulating it in the Falcon 9 rocket's fairing, will take 35 days. This will be followed by a damp gown wedding rehearsal and then the launch.

Presently, the Intuitive Machines-1 mission has a launch slot reserved from November 15 through November 20 on board a Falcon 9 taking off from Launch Complex-39A at Kennedy Space Center. However, Altemus acknowledged that schedule modifications are possible due to weather or if SpaceX has to release higher-priority customers for the US military or NASA. If that's the case, the business has a backup window in December.

This objective is slated to land near the South Pole of the Moon, and it would mark the very first time any US-led objective tried to land near this polar region where researchers believe there may be big deposits of ice.

A publicly traded business, Intuitive Machines reported $18 million in earnings during the second quarter of this year, with an operating loss of $13.2 million. The company has $39.1 million in cash and money equivalents on hand. Altemus said the firm's numerous industries-- lunar landers, lunar information services, and in-space services-- are all showing growth. User-friendly Machines, he stated, is currently well along in developing its second Nova-C spacecraft for another NASA mission in 2024.

Intuitive Machines is likewise among the bidders for a big NASA agreement to provide a next-generation lunar rover for NASA as part of its Artemis Program to explore the Moon.

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