Intuitive Machines stock spikes as lunar company's first moon mission begins

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Nova-C lander for the IM-1 mission launches from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 1:05 a.m. EDT on February 15, 2024 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Shares of Intuitive Machines spiked in early trading on Thursday, as the space company began its first mission to the moon’s surface earlier in the morning.

A SpaceX rocket launched Intuitive’s IM-1 mission successfully. The cargo lunar lander, loaded with research, is headed for the moon and Intuitive expects to make a landing attempt next week.

Intuitive’s stock rose as much 25% in trading before pairing gains to trade about 14% up from its previous close at $4.98 a share. The company went public via a SPAC merger last year and, despite nearly doubling so far this year, trades at about half the stock’s debut price.

Before the launch, Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus told CNBC that shareholders should be reassured that “we built resiliency into our business so that we’re not a one-off kind of company that built a lunar lander and is going to throw it to the moon.”

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“You could make money a whole lot of ways – but this isn’t just about making money. It’s about achieving something while running a business and innovating,” he said.

Here's why the U.S., China, India, Japan and others are rushing back to the moon

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