Intuitive Machines opening Lunar Operations Center at Houston Spaceport

(Rendering courtesy Intuitive Machines)
(Rendering courtesy Intuitive Machines)

(Rendering courtesy Intuitive Machines)

After landing a module on the moon in the first quarter of 2022, Intuitive Machines plans to make an annual effort to send hardware to the lunar surface, and it will do its work from the Houston Spaceport.

At an event the afternoon of June 16, officials talked about the Clear Lake-based company's plans to expand at the spaceport.

Today, Intuitive Machines operates out of the Houston Aerospace Support Center, a building at the spaceport that also includes the Edge Center, a San Jacinto College effort to train the next aerospace workforce.

In 2023, Intuitive Machines will transition to a 125,000-square-foot Lunar Operations Center that will be built at the spaceport. At this facility, the company will build, command and communicate with more hardware that will go to the moon in the largest facility the company has had, according to a June 16 press release.

"We grew up as a company alongside Spaceport Houston, and we continue to grow as Spaceport Houston grows," said Steve Altemus, Intuitive Machines president and CEO, in the release. "My partners, Dr. Tim Crain and Dr. Kam Ghaffarian and I chose Houston because of its diverse talent, rapidly growing innovation ecosystem and deep-rooted connection to spaceflight. Houston is our home, a place surrounded by family, friends and people of true grit. Whether it is a flood, pandemic or landing on the moon, Space City does not back down from a challenge, and this building is Intuitive Machines accepting one of humanity's greatest challenges."


Starting in 2022, Intuitive Machines will start an "annual launch cadence" to deliver NASA and commercial payloads to the moon. Demand for this effort necessitated the company's expansion to a 12.5-acre parcel, according to the release.

"We are thrilled that Intuitive Machines has decided to further invest in the tremendous aerospace ecosystem at Houston Spaceport," Houston Airports Director of Aviation Mario Diaz said in the release. "I believe Intuitive Machines is a real-life Houston success story that hits to the core of Houston Spaceport's mission: to create a focal point for aerospace innovation with a cluster of aerospace companies that will lead the nation in the transition from a government-focused to a commercially driven space program."

The city will reimburse the project up to $40 million, and city leaders have said Houston will get a return on that investment through a 20-year lease agreement.
By Jake Magee

Editor, Bay Area & Pearland/Friendswood

Jake has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper. Today, he covers everything from aerospace to transportation to flood mitigation.


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