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Space SPAC Index: Intuitive Machines Debuts as Merger Raises Less Money Than Planned, Virgin Orbit Narrows Cause of Launch Failure, Momentus to Deliver FOSSA Satellites to Orbit

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
February 14, 2023
Filed under , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Space SPAC Index: Intuitive Machines Debuts as Merger Raises Less Money Than Planned, Virgin Orbit Narrows Cause of Launch Failure, Momentus to Deliver FOSSA Satellites to Orbit
IM-mission’s Nova-C lander (Credit: Intuitive Machines)

Welcome this week’s S-SPACi.

Intuitive Machines (NAS: LUNR) debuted on the NASDAQ exchange on Tuesday after the company received only a fraction of the amount it had planned to raise by merging with the Inflection Point Acquisition Corp. special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

The merger was to have provided the lunar services company with $331 million after fees and expenses were deducted. The amount included $301 million from Inflection Point, and $55 million divided between Inflection Point affiliate Kingstown Capital Management ($29 million) and a Intuitive Machines founder and entities affiliated with Inflection Point ($26 million).

However, Intuitive Machines announced it would “will receive approximately $55 million of committed capital from an affiliate of its sponsor and company founders.” The Houston-based company made no mention of the $301 million that was to have come from Inflection Point. The omission suggests that a number of Inflection Point investors got their money back rather than own shares in the merged company.

As a SPAC, Inflection Point was a “blank-check” company formed by investors that was already traded on NASDAQ. SPACs are given a period of time — typically two years — to find a company with which to merge and take public under its own name. Investors can opt to own shares in the merged company or ask for their money back.

Despite raising far less than planned, company officials expressed optimism about going public.

“Intuitive Machines is playing a critical role in America’s return to the Moon by providing technologies and services to establish long-term lunar infrastructure and commerce. This merger accelerates and strengthens Intuitive Machines’ strategic plan to help expedite a thriving commercial ecosystem for space for the benefit of human civilization,” said Kam Ghaffarian, Intuitive Machines co-founder and executive chairman.

The stock closed at $10.52 on Monday under its old symbol (IPAX), opened down at $10 on Tuesday under LUNR, and closed at $10.03. It was trading at $10.58 after hours.

NASA has awarded three lunar landing missions to Intuitive Machines under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. CLPS pays private companies to deliver agency-funded payloads to the Moon.

The first of the three missions, IM-1, is due to launch in late June aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster. The Nova-C lander and its payloads are expected to operate for one lunar day (14 Earth days) after landing at the lunar south pole.

Space SPAC Index
Feb. 14, 2023

CompanyFirst Trading DayOpening Share PriceHighClosing Price
Arqit (NAS: ARQQ)
Sept. 7, 2021$9.25$41.52 (9/23/21) $2.56
Astra Space (NAS: ASTR)July 1, 2021$12.30$16.95 (7/2/21)$0.61
AST SpaceMobile (NAS: ASTS)April 7, 2021$11.63$15.48 (6/30/21)$6.20 (NYS: BBAI)Dec. 8, 2021$9.84$16.12 (4/6/22)$4.14
BlackSky (NYS: BKSY)Sept. 10, 2021$11.80$13.20 (9/16/21)$1.90
Intuitive Machines (NAS: LUNR)Feb. 14, 2023$10.00$10.58 (2/14/23)$10.03
Momentus (NAS: MNTS)Aug. 13, 2021$10.8512.87 (9/7/21)$0.87
Planet Labs (NYS: PL)Dec. 8, 2021$11.25$11.65 (12/8/21)$4.60
Redwire (NYS: RDW)Sept. 3, 2021$10.70$16.98 (10/25/21)$2.54
Rocket Lab (NAS: RKLB)
Aug. 25, 2021$11.58$21.34 (9/9/21) $4.96
Satellogic (NAS: SATL)Jan. 26, 2022$9.19$10.92 (5/4/22) $3.24
Satixfy (NYS: SATX)Oct. 28, 2022$8.29$51.70
Spire (NYS: SPIR)Aug. 17, 2021$10.25 $19.50 (9/22/21)$5.29
Terran Orbital (NYS: LLAP)March 28, 2022$12.69$12.69 (3/28/22) $1.84
Virgin Galactic (NYS: SPCE)Oct. 28, 2019$11.79$62.80 (2/4/21)$5.29
Virgin Orbit (NAS: VORB)Dec. 30, 2021$8.525$11.28 (1/11/22)$1.58
Stock Price Source: Yahoo Finance

Momentus to Deliver FOSSA’s Satellites

Momentus (NAS: MNTS) will fly a PocketPod for FOSSA Systems (“FOSSA”) on a Vigoride mission targeted to launch in October 2023.

Under the agreement with Momentus, FOSSA will be launching a picosatellite deployer with the capacity for 8 PocketQube satellites as part of its launch brokerage capabilities and services. This deployer will house several 250 g 5x5x5 cm satellites serving different Internet of Things, Earth sbservation, and demonstration platforms for yet-to-be-announced customers.

FOSSA already launched four PocketPod deployers in 2022, including PocketPod-3 and PocketPod-4 on Momentus’ May 2022 inaugural mission.

Virgin Orbit Narrows Cause of Failure

Virgin Orbit (NAS: VORB) CEO Dan Hart that the failure of the company’s LauncherOne rocket last month was in all likelihood due to a dislodged filter in the second stage. The cost of the part: $100.

The failure resulted in nine satellites from the United Kingdom, United States and Poland burning up in the atmosphere. The launch from the Cornwall Newquay Airport was Virgin Galactic’s first launch that did not originate from the Mojave Air and Space Port at Rutan Field in California. It was the first orbital launch attempt from the United Kingdom.

LauncherOne has a record of four successes and two failures. The other failure occurred on the maiden flight in 2020 with a dummy payload aboard.

Richard Branson floats in SpaceShipTwo (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic Sets Date for Earnings Call

Virgin Galactic (NYS: SPCE) will report its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2022 following the close of the U.S. markets on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Virgin Galactic will host a conference call to discuss the results that day at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time). A live webcast and replay of the conference call will be available on the Company’s Investor Relations website at

Company officials are expected to lay out a schedule for completing flight tests of its VSS Unity crewed suborbital vehicle and beginning commercial flights. They previous said the tests should be completed by the end of March, with paying passengers flying sometime in the second quarter.

It’s been more than 19 months since VSS Unity last flew. The rocket plane carried company founder Richard Branson and three Virgin Galactic employees on a suborbital flight test from Spaceport America in New Mexico on July 11, 2021.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) subsequently grounded VSS Unity because it flew outside of its designated air space during the flight test. Virgin Galactic didn’t tell the agency about the violation. FAA subsequently lifted the order, but the company decided to suspend the test program so engineers could make a series of upgrades to the spacecraft and its VMS Eve mothership.

VMS Eve flew back to the Mojave Air and Space Port at Rutan Field in California where it was built for its overhaul on Oct. 30, 2021. The modifications took about 15 months to complete. Virgin Galactic originally planned to have both the mothership and VSS Unity out of commission for about four months.

Engineers began ground tests on VMS Eve several weeks ago. The aircraft was out on runway 12-30 at Mojave last week for at least one taxi test.

17 responses to “Space SPAC Index: Intuitive Machines Debuts as Merger Raises Less Money Than Planned, Virgin Orbit Narrows Cause of Launch Failure, Momentus to Deliver FOSSA Satellites to Orbit”

  1. Nick H says:

    These CLPS companies are all going to go out of business before getting anything to the moon. Hoping Astrobotic gets their lander all the way there.

    • P.K. Sink says:

      Not all of them. I have read that about 80% of new businesses fail. I imagine that this industry will follow that pattern.

      • Nick H says:

        The mortality rate will be worse than NASA imagined I’m guessing. Astrobotic looks healthy from the outside.

      • Robert G. Oler says:

        that is about correct but I think that the sentence is “80percent of first time new businesses fail” the success rate gets a little higher the second etc time

        I went through two business with minor but some economic loss. then I got lucky and started the ATP school in Atlanta with my late wife…and although it came close to failure it was quite successful and we sold it for a pretty nice profit

        until I start ed changing the farm around we were of course talking less money then one of these companies but the foundation is the same

        you need a lot of money to start

    • Thomas Matula says:

      Astrobotic legacy goes all the way back to the old Lunacorp so hopefully they have the experience to survive.

      • Nick H says:

        I think Astrobotic is a great little company but until their CLPS awards they were just another company surviving on SBIRs not unlike Masten. I am certainly rooting for them.

      • Nick H says:

        IMO the biggest difference between Astrobotic and Masten is the former’s research in autonomy and navigation. The CLPS missions have a very demanding landing precision requirement of a 100m ellipse. Much of Astrobotic’s research is focused on this sort of thing. Masten did not any of this in-house.

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