Intuitive Machines (LUNR) – One Company One Story
Welcome to another story and another video in my One Company One Story series.
This time, Intuitive Machines (aka LUNR).
Here comes the amateur legalese.
I began investing in companies and their stocks in the late 70s, but am not a certified investment professional.
My style and history of investing is described in Dream. Invest. Live., a book I wrote by request – which came out as the Great Recession (the Second Great Depression) began. Bad timing, eh?
I am not investment professional. This is not financial advice.
This time it is about Intuitive Machines which sounds more an AI or robotics company, but may be hinted at better by its trading symbol, LUNR (LUNaR, get it?) They’re doing moon stuff, and more. They are offering many of the services necessary for lunar exploration: transportation (after launch), Earth-based space communications, Moon-centered communications, a hopping rover, and more.
Without getting all geeky (and producing animations I’d botch), the process is something like: get launched (Space-X), then LUNR’s vehicle gets the lunar vehicle into lunar orbit, their lander lands and can contain a rover that hops around as a way to deliver sensors and such to the landing site. (I still like the idea of an orbital transfer vehicle, especially one that could be refueled and reused. Cool.)
Fifty years ago, this idea would seem like a natural, building the infrastructure to get to and work on the Moon, and in space. (Personal note: About forty-five years ago, I started my career with a degree in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering. Space was going to be the future! Public opinion, however, was swayed by near-term appeals. Budgets shrunk. Long-term ideas were shelved. A few years in Boeing Commercial Space led nowhere. So much for that career.) Twenty years ago-ish, Space X announced audacious plans. They weren’t the only ones, but commercial space became a possibility. Now, at least according to NASA,
“The Intuitive Machines 1 (IM-1, TO2-IM) mission objective is to place a lander, called Nova-C, on the crater rim of Malapert A near the south pole of the Moon. The commercially built lander will carry five NASA payloads and commercial cargo. Launch is currently scheduled for June 2023.” – NASA
That’s only months away (as I type.) Rather than deadlines measured in years (or decades), they are a public company with NASA as a partner/customer.
This is a good example of the early commercialization of space. It is starting with NASA contracts; which is more civil than commercial. That’s frequently the way such things begin. It can be possible to be profitable and sustainable to work on civil contracts; but I will be hoping for true commercialization which will be business-to-business.
They are attempting something complex and impressive. But then, Space-X’s idea of recovering and reusing rocket stages seemed audacious. Now, it is taken for granted. Practice brings public complacency, which is a sign of public acceptance. I don’t know if they’ll succeed, but this is the nature of early (ignoring fifty years of waiting) technology. In the realm of investing, it is also an example of risk and reward.
They are also attempting the parts that are simplified (relatively) but not having to deal with Earth’s gravity or an atmosphere. Space is still difficult, but simple design choices can simplify their tasks.
The stock’s ride has been wild. With barely any history of trading it has already had a >250% day. Since then, the stock has come back down. Rocket analogies are allowed.
I cheer on those who are making the company happen. I’ll enjoy staying tuned to this story.