Intuitive Machines stock plummets after moon lander tips over

By Thomson Reuters Feb 26, 2024 | 4:51 AM

(Reuters) – Shares of Houston-based Intuitive Machines slumped more than 30% on Monday after the space exploration firm said its Odysseus moon lander had tipped over and was resting on its side.

The company, which became the first private company to land on the moon and the first from the U.S. since 1972, said that all but one of its six NASA science and technology payloads were facing upwards and receptive to communications.

The payload on its side contains an art piece comprising miniature stainless steel sculptures by artist Jeff Koons, the company said.

The rest of the payloads are expected to carry out their scientific objectives.

Intuitive’s stock fell 34% to $6.30 before the opening bell on Monday, more than offsetting the gains on Friday, in which nearly 99 million shares exchanged hands, a record for the stock.

On Friday, the total value of traded shares reached $1.01 billion, surpassing the company’s market valuation of approximately $960 million, as per LSEG data.

The company’s shares, which went public about a year ago, are vulnerable to high levels of volatility as only 18% of the stock is available to trade.

The landing could make things easier for other space focused companies – like Rocket Lab, Astra Space and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin – seeking investments and stable government contracts.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid)