The state-of-the-art aerospace facility built by Burns & McDonnell will empower Intuitive machines to focus safely on opening access to the Moon for the progress of humanity.
HOUSTON – Intuitive Machines, Inc. (Nasdaq: LUNR, LUNRW), a leading space exploration, infrastructure, and services company, has opened its Lunar Production and Operations Center.
Located at the Houston Spaceport at Ellington Airport, the Intuitive Machines Lunar Production and Operations Center represents a new lunar access capability for the United States, NASA, and global commercial partners. The new 105,572-square-foot headquarters will serve as the operations center for the company’s lunar program, including the capability to manufacture multiple lunar landers and spacecraft simultaneously.
Incorporated into the design of the campus are advanced manufacturing and production spaces, 3D printing areas, machine shops, research and development laboratories, clean rooms, and large-scale spacecraft assembly areas. Unique to the facility are mission control rooms to track and manage lunar missions, and a propulsion test facility to assess lunar lander engine capabilities. The headquarters also includes offices, meeting areas, conference rooms and other amenities for both Intuitive Machines and its partners.
The “flame range” facility is a unique structure, consisting of a 3,800-square-foot reinforced concrete chamber surrounded by a 25-foot-high perimeter wall that encloses an additional 6,500-square-foot yard and delivers multiple advantages for Intuitive Machines testing protocols. To be considered safe and ready for use, propulsion systems must meet stringent performance requirements, verified by a multitude of testing protocols.
The proximity of the testing facility to Intuitive Machines’ manufacturing operations offers multiple benefits, beginning with significant savings in testing setup costs and streamlined logistics. Locating the testing facility next to the headquarters also allows Intuitive Machines to make adjustments quickly, utilizing all its manufacturing capabilities. With the ability to produce on-demand engine prototypes and parts, engineers can now conduct tests on even small, incremental changes in engine design.
At a press conference, Intuitive Machines confirmed its first mission lunar lander, Nova-C, will be shipped from its new facility in the coming days ahead of its upcoming launch. The mission to deliver NASA and commercial payloads to the Moon’s south pole marks the first attempt by the United States of a soft landing since Apollo 17 in 1972.
“The Moon is no longer a distant dream; it’s a destination within our grasp, and this facility is our lunar gateway – a national asset,” said Steve Altemus, Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Intuitive Machines. “We’re proud that the United States' return to the Moon will have Houston, Texas, stamped on the shipping container that will leave this facility for launch, and we look forward to working under a roof that matches the technical excellence our employees demonstrate each day.”
Construction on the site began in June 2021, with the now completed facility ready to support each of Intuitive Machines’ three NASA-awarded missions. Designed to support each of the company’s four core business units, the Lunar Production and Operations Center serves as the pivotal bridge between the Earth and the Moon, enabling sustainable, safe, and efficient human and robotic space exploration.
“The opening of Intuitive Machines’ facility at the Houston Spaceport was made possible by the tireless support of teammates like Burns & McDonnell, the Houston Airport System, and Griffin Partners,” said Jack Fischer, Vice President of Production and Operations at Intuitive Machines. “The thought and support provided by our partners built a perfect home that can grow with us, removing barriers for our company to reach its potential. In that spirit, we’ve left several walls that are simply white; they are empty pages in a future history book. One which we look forward to writing from our new home in Space City.”
Intuitive Machines joins Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace as serving as the three anchor tenants of the Houston Spaceport, an FAA-licensed, urban commercial spaceport offering unprecedented access to a thriving aerospace community. In addition to serving as a launch and landing site for suborbital, reusable launch vehicles, Houston Spaceport offers laboratory office space including technology incubator space and large-scale hardware production facilities.
The Houston Spaceport is the world’s first truly urban commercial spaceport and continues Houston’s legacy as Space City.
“Houston has always been a city that reaches for the stars, and with Intuitive Machines operating at the Houston Spaceport, our city is poised to shine even brighter in the cosmos,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Aerospace is more than a source of pride for our city. The innovation here is just another example of why the Houston economy is thriving. Intuitive Machines is fueling high-paying jobs, fostering innovation, and attracting talent and investment from every corner of the world.”
Houston Airports, which operates and maintains the Houston Spaceport at Ellington Airport is partnering with San Jacinto College to train and educate the next generation of aerospace professionals at the San Jacinto Edge Center at the Houston Spaceport. A number of San Jacinto Edge Center graduates now work for Intuitive Machines.
“Today’s celebration confirms that Houston is home to the fastest growing commercial spaceport on the planet and is also home to the first and only 5-Star airport in North America,” said Mario Diaz, Director of Aviation for Houston Airports. “The skies and the stars are fast converging, and the merger is reshaping the way we think about travel, innovation and human potential. We are delighted to join Intuitive Machines in endeavoring towards a future where humanity’s reach extends even further than we can dare to imagine today.”
About Intuitive Machines | Intuitive Machines is a diversified space company focused on space exploration. Intuitive Machines supplies space products and services to support sustained robotic and human exploration to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Intuitive Machines' products and services are offered through its four business units: Lunar Access Services, Orbital Services, Lunar Data Services, and Space Products and Infrastructure. For more information, please visit intuitivemachines.com.
About the Houston Spaceport | Owned and managed by the Houston Airport System, the Houston Spaceport has a clear goal 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-driven to a commercially driven space program. Licensed for horizontal launch by the FAA in 2015, the Houston Spaceport is the nation's 10th commercial spaceport. It is working to create meaningful, tangible value for tenants and partners by ensuring our aerospace cluster offers the crucial tools and facilities to support aviation and space businesses. The Houston Spaceport is located at Ellington Airport.