Good morning. Happy Friday, team. Shout out to the 238 new subscribers who joined us this week.
Toward the end of the month, ESA astronaut and current ISS resident Samantha Cristoforetti will become the space station’s commander. She’ll make history as the first European woman to command the ISS. Complimenti e ottimo lavoro, Samantha!
In today's newsletter:
🌕 New space SPAC
🗣️ Orbital housekeeping
📚 Weekend recs
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Babe wake up, new space SPAC just dropped
Space SPACs…are baaack!
Houston-headquartered Intuitive Machines said today that it intends to go public, by merging early next year with Inflection Point Acquisition Corp ($IPAX). Assuming the two can take the transaction to the finish line, upon de-SPAC, the lunar lander startup will be listed on the Nasdaq.
Key #s: The transaction will generate $330M in gross proceeds and grant the combined entity an enterprise value of $815M. Intuitive has secured $55M in committed capital and a $50M equity facility from a Cantor Fitzgerald affiliate. The company’s contracted backlog stands at $188M and management has guided to ~$102M in 2022 revenue (and $291M next year).
Org chart: Intuitive Machines is split up across four divisions.
- Lunar access services—The company aims to transport cargo to the Moon with its proprietary lander, and envisions serving both government and commercial clients.
- Lunar data services—Intuitive Machines is planning to link six “strategically positioned” ground stations with a future lunar constellation.
- Orbital services—This division spans satellite rideshare, orbital transportation, and largely unrealized space logistics segments like refueling and debris removal.
- Space products and infrastructure—This is a bit of a grab bag: propulsion, navigation, specialty engineering services, lunar mobility products, fission surface power, and human-rated systems.
CLPS context: Intuitive Machines is a leading, card-carrying member of the NASA-backed CLPS class of commercial lunar landers. Its Nova-C lander concept is a cylindrical capsule with six legs, capable of carrying 100 kg to the lunar surface.
NASA has embraced a “shots on goal” mentality with CLPS, and it’s a safe bet that many of the program’s missions won’t make it to the Moon. That said, Intuitive Machines’ lander looks like one of the more promising shots on goal, and the company says it is leading America’s return to the Moon. The IM-1 mission is scheduled to launch aboard a Falcon 9 no earlier than Q1 2023. It will carry five payloads to Oceanus Procellarum, a dark spot on the lunar surface.
What we'll be watching for...
- Mission prep with IM-1
- The first launch and landing of Nova-C
- Redemption rates for $IPAX shareholders
- Intuitive + Inflection closing the transaction (exp. Q1 2023)
- The market’s reception to a publicly traded lunar developer
Share this news with someone who plays forward in hockey:
Orbital Safety Best Practices Guide
Iridium, OneWeb, and SpaceX have come together to produce a holistic set of orbital safety best practices in partnership with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
These best practices are drawn from years of operational experience and the understanding that comes from actually working together to maintain sustainable orbits. These guidelines help ensure that future generations can maximize the benefits of space.
Why make it official? Given the rapid innovation in space, governments have a responsibility to put appropriate regulatory structures in place that keep pace with development. To be effective, regulations must maintain sustainable operations in space without stifling innovation or preventing new applications that bring tangible benefits to the public and governments.
- Striking this balance is not straightforward, especially considering that space is a global domain, meaning individual countries must avoid creating an unmanageable patchwork of incongruous rules.
Innovation cannot wait for what promises to be a long and arduous road to appropriate rules to govern space and operations. Guidelines and best practices for new and emerging systems are generally more effective than unbending and static regulations that can quickly become out of date and lock in aging technology.
- Evolving best practices can provide the flexibility necessary to upgrade older technology and develop new innovations that improve both space operations and life on the ground.
- The private sector has unified incentives to work together to protect the orbits where it does business.
As technology improves, regulations can then be developed to better reflect a mature industry. The best practices presented in the document are designed to be applicable to any operator anywhere in the world, regardless of how they receive conjunction warnings, and represent the best practices that the signatories have adopted.
To read the rest of this article and access the best practices, click here.
How Secure Are Your Space Assets?
Cybersecurity will continue to be top of mind in high stakes environments like space.
SpiderOak Mission Systems is an industry leader in space cybersecurity serving civilian, military, and commercial space operators. The “OrbitSecure” product is the industry standard for ephemeral key creation, rotation, and assignment for secure communications in space.
The company’s product suite ensures the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your most sensitive data in the zero-gravity environments you depend on.
In Other News
- Starlink is now available on all seven continents.
- NASA is open to more private astronaut trips.
- SDA has delayed the first launch of its planned LEO constellation from mid-September to no earlier than December.
- Rocket Lab ($RKLB) launched the “The Owl Spreads its Wings” mission and deployed Synspective’s SAR satellite.
- Correction: Yesterday, we quoted Kayhan Space cofounder Araz Feyzi as the company’s CEO. Feyzi is actually the company’s CTO.
ICYMI: what we published this week
🛰️ Debris, Part Three: Check out the third installment of our deep dive into orbital debris regulation, this time focusing on space situational awareness and space traffic management. And in case you missed them, read Part 1 and Part 2 first.
🎙️ Pathfinder: Don’t miss Pathfinder #0016 with Caleb Henry, a senior analyst at Quilty, covering the T-Mobile/SpaceX partnership, AST SpaceMobile, equity analysis and research, the three-legged stool metaphor, launch, and Ukraine. Find the show links here.
🚀 Best of the rest from Payload and Parallax...