HOUSTON — A Houston-based aerospace company has landed a $77.5 million dollar NASA contract to fly four payloads to the moon in 2024. It's the company's third contract with NASA.
Intuitive Machines is taking on the historic mission. The company has already made its mark on earth, and now it will leave its footprints on the moon.
Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus compared the hand-built landers that will carry the payloads to exotic cars.
"That's it's exactly what it's going to look like. It's like a hand-built Ferrari," Altemus said.
They'll be hand-built and homemade in Houston.
"Intuitive Machines is the first to return the United States to the moon in nearly 50 years. We'll also be the first to land on the South Pole, and now we'll be first to land in the Reiner Gamma magnetic anomaly," Altemus said.
The mission is set for 2024. The NOVA-C lunar lander will carry four very complex payloads.
Ryan Stephan is the Integration Manager for NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services -- or CLPS -- initiative.
"I'd be outside at night often and you know looking up at the moon," Stephan said. "This is a really interesting area of the moon that has perplexed scientists for years and we're going to collect this magnetic information."
He said the goal is to "unlock this lunar economy." They want to make access to the moon affordable.