top of page
  • Satellite Evolution Group

Goonhilly's key role in Intuitive Machines mission marks a milestone for commercial lunar exploration

Goonhilly Earth Station is playing a crucial role in supporting Intuitive Machines' IM-1 mission, which launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. This groundbreaking commercial mission aims to be the first of its kind to achieve a soft landing on the Moon. Intuitive Machines, as part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, is contributing to NASA's Artemis lunar exploration efforts. The science and technology payloads deployed on the Moon's surface as part of CLPS will lay the foundation for future human missions and a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.

With a proven record of providing reliable communication services beyond geostationary orbit (~36,000km from Earth), Goonhilly's seasoned operations team has supported numerous government and private missions to the Moon and beyond, for the likes of ESA, NASA, ispace, and ISRO. 

As the world’s first commercial deep space ground station, Goonhilly’s unique commercial experience and commitment to advancing space exploration is crucial in providing critical communications capacity for a surge in the number of private missions and new players entering the market.

Goonhilly's support for Intuitive Machines' IM-1 mission spans its entirety, from the Launch and Early Operations Phase (LEOP) to cruise, lunar orbit, and on-surface operations. The services provided include Tracking, Telemetry, and Control (TT&C), ranging, and data downlink. Throughout the mission, communication will be maintained with Intuitive Machines' Houston-based Mission Operations Centre, "Nova Control".

Goonhilly plays a crucial role in Intuitive Machines' "Lunar Tracking, Telemetry & Command Network", consisting of nine large antennas strategically positioned across seven global locations. These antennas facilitate the seamless exchange of information with the spacecraft as it becomes visible and are essential to the overall success of the mission.

In preparation for IM-1, Goonhilly has demonstrated its readiness through joint exercises with Intuitive Machines, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and other ground stations associated with the mission. This global collaborative effort ensures a seamless integration of communication services across the lunar mission’s lifespan.

Ian Jones, Goonhilly: “Goonhilly's international expansion reinforces our dedication to meeting the growing demands of the space industry. We are at the forefront of space commercialisation and are excited to be driving the future of space communications and enabling the success of transformative missions like IM-1. We are thrilled to contribute to the UK’s involvement in this globally significant milestone, providing sovereign capability to support the future of lunar and deep space exploration.”

Goonhilly's support for Intuitive Machines' IM-1 mission represents a pivotal moment for the commercial lunar sector. The collaboration presents a blueprint for private companies driving forward the exploration of our solar system. 

For more information visit:


bottom of page