By Rick Clapp
Intuitive Machines is an incredibly unique space and aviation company located on the Space Port Facility at Ellington Field in Houston. The company was founded in 2013 by president and CEO Steve Altemus with the goal of bringing decades of human spaceflight know-how, technology advances, and innovative thinking into low-cost solutions aimed at serving the complex needs of our world. Since then, Altemus has steered the company back to his passion, space, with the objective of taking the space business to new frontiers.
Steve Altemus started his journey into space and aviation as a student at the Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, where he originally wanted to pursue a career as an aviator. A few years later, he graduated with an Aeronautical Engineering Degree and later earned a Masters Degree from the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
Upon graduating from Embry Riddle, he soon found himself up the coast of Florida at the Kennedy Space Center. That’s where Altemus’ career took off into space. After several years at the Kennedy Space center he was promoted to manage the space shuttle launch countdown. He directed the many successful shuttle operations over the years and then unfortunately the Columbia Shuttle disaster occurred. Altemus was assigned to reconstruct over 85,000 pieces of the shuttle. For his efforts in completing this arduous task , he was promoted by NASA to head the engineering directorate at the Johnson Space Center culminating with a position as deputy director of the Johnson Space Center. After 25 incredible years with NASA, Altemus had the desire to revolutionize the space business and he founded Intuitive Machines.
“At Intuitive Machines, we take ideas from concept to completion. We engineer systems starting from concept, through design and development, build and test.” Altemus says.
Intuitive Machines has three major areas of specialization, Aviation, Space Systems, and Additive Manufacturing and Generative Design. They all work in unison to produce outstanding engineering wonders.
Well-deserved congratulations go to Altemus and his team of nearly 90 employees and interns, for earning the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract as one of the first US companies to provide commercial services to the Moon. As part of NASA’s Artemis Program, Intuitive Machines will land NASA-provided payloads on the surface of the Moon to conduct science investigations and demonstrate advanced technologies, paving the way for astronauts to land successfully on the moon by 2024.
Intuitive Machines accomplished this tremendous feat in less than six years, which is nothing but remarkable.
“It is incredibly exciting and coincidental that 50 years ago Houston landed Apollo 11 on the lunar surface and this year, Houston-based
Intuitive Machines was awarded the contract to return NASA to the moon. We look forward to developing our systems and flying our missions to the moon from where it all started right here in Houston,” Altemus said.
On a personal note, Steve Altemus is a wonderful family man, married to his wife, Brunella, for over 30 years. His daughter, Dr. Samantha, is a resident veterinarian and internist at OSU. His son Joseph is a mechanical engineer who builds robots for Jacobs Engineering.
Houston we do not have a problem, Intuitive Machines is taking US back to the moon!!
Thanks to the pioneer spirit of the people at NASA and the talented, creative contractor Intuitive Machines, we will continue further our space travels to the Moon, Mars and beyond. God Bless America.