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Intuitive Machines 2 (PRIME 1)



The objective of the Intuitive Machines 2, or IM-2 (TO PRIME-1) mission is to land a drill and mass spectrometer (Polar Resources Ice Mining Experiment-1, or PRIME-1) near the south pole of the Moon in order to demonstrate the feasibility of in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) and measure the volatile content of subsurface samples. The mission is scheduled to launch on a Falcon 9 no earlier than the fourth quarter 2024, on the NOVA-C landing platform developed by Intuitive Machines for lunar landing under NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, in which NASA contracts with a commercial partner, in this case Intuitive Machines, that provides the launch and lander. The Lunar Trailblazer mission is scheduled to be a secondary spacecraft on this launch.

The Nova-C Lander is a tall hexagonal cylinder on 6 landing legs. It is capable of carrying 100 to 130 kg of payload to the surface. It uses solar panels to generate 200 W of power on the surface. Propulsion and landing use liquid methane as fuel and liquid oxygen as an oxidizer. The PRIME-1 mission has two primary components, The Regolith and Ice Drill for Exploring New Terrain (TRIDENT) and the Mass Spectrometer observing lunar operations (MSolo). TRIDENT is an augering drill approximately 1 meter long. The drill is able to stop at any depth as commanded from the ground and deposit its sample on the surface for analysis. MSolo is a commercial off the shelf (COTS) mass spectrometer modified for spaceflight and lunar operations. Total PRIME-1 payload mass is about 40 kg.

After launch on the Falcon 9, currently scheduled for late 2024, the Nova-C lander will touch down at the Shackleton connecting ridge, near Shackleton Crater close to the south pole and begin drilling operations. The mission will also carry a lunar "hopper" designed to carry a one-kilogram payload across the lunar surface for a distence up to 2.5 km. It is planned to operate inside a permanently shadowed region, take images, and measure temperatures. In addition, it will carry a Nokia LTE 4G communications test experiment.

For more on NASA's CLPS initiative and missions, see:

Image credit: Intuitive Machines

Alternate Names

  • IM-2
  • Intuitive Machines 2
  • PRIME 1
  • Polar Resources Ice Mining Experiment-1
  • Prime1

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Nominal Power: 200 W

Funding Agency

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (United States)


  • Planetary Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Susan LedererProject ScientistNASA Johnson Space
Dr. Jacqueline Quinn Program ManagerNASA John F. Kennedy Space
Dr. Janine CaptainProgram ScientistNASA John F. Kennedy Space
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