Houston-based Intuitive Machines was selected to build, test and deliver prototype main stage and reaction control (RCS) engines for Boeing’s Human Lander System (HLS) NextSTEP-2 BAA Appendix E - Architecture Studies and Technology Prototypes contract that support’s NASA’s goal of returning humans to the lunar surface in 2024.
“The relationship between Intuitive Machines and Boeing combines two stellar companies with ambition to fulfill NASA’s goal of returning to the Moon in 2024,” said Trent Martin, Intuitive Machines vice president of Aerospace Services.
Intuitive Machines’ mainstage and RCS engines use a higher performance liquid oxygen liquid methane (LO2/LCH4) propellant combination. The Appendix E technology prototyping effort will work to mature this technology and enable HLS elements to use a common system across the architecture to meet the preliminary goals for all elements and reduce development and operations costs by using only one propellant combination for space flight.
Intuitive Machines’ LO2/LCH4 technology has been test-fired on a smaller version of this engine as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program (CLPS). Its use could be extended to future Mars transportation and lander systems due to its compatibility with the Martian atmosphere.
About Intuitive Machines
Founded in 2013, Intuitive Machines was formed from practical experience in large complex space systems development. The people of Intuitive Machines blend deep technical knowledge with practices honed over 40 years of human spaceflight; practices in risk-based decision- making, redundancy management, fault tolerance and isolation, safety, reliability, maintainability, verification testing, and operations.