Moon Express loses lawsuit by subcontractor


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Capitalism in space: Moon Express has lost a lawsuit by one of its subcontractors, who had claimed it had ceased work because the former Google Lunar X-Prize finalist had failed to pay for its work.

Intuitive Machines further claimed that Moon Express’s failure to pay harmed its business. The jury found in favor of Intuitive Machines and awarded the company $1.125 million in cash and $2.5 million in Moon Express equity related to the flight software claim. The jury also awarded Intuitive Machines $732,000 related to its work on the terrestrial return vehicle.

The importance of this story is that it suggests that Moon Express lacks sufficient capital to do what it claims. The decision further robs it of more capital.

Now it could be that Moon Express stopped paying because Intuitive Machines was not delivering good product, as Moon Express claims. The jury did not agree with this claim, however. I do wonder if the jury was sufficiently educated about the product itself.

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4 comments

  • Edward

    Oh, the irony. The jury awards a possibly bankrupting amount and also awards an equity award, valuable only if the company does not file bankruptcy. Now it is in the interest of Intuitive Machines for Moon Express to stay solvent and be successful.

  • Private

    Funny they just laid off 90% of their engineering staff according to indeed reviews

  • This article offers raises some good questions but misconstrues some of the facts about our lawsuit against Intuitive Machines. We offer the following corrections / clarifications to statements made:

    1) “Moon Express loses lawsuit by subcontractor”: Moon Express is the plaintiff in this (ongoing) lawsuit; Intuitive Machines is the Defendant. WE sued Intuitive Machine for breach of contract for non-delivery of obligated deliverables after paying them over $3M. We believe the jury did indeed get it wrong, and in the article cited, we state this and that we would be appealing the decision (which we are doing). Since the lawsuit is still being litigated, we assert that we haven’t “lost”, and we believe justice will ultimately prevail through our appeal.

    [Publicly available court documents show that Intuitive Machines offered Moon Express a cash settlement of $750K prior to the trial, suggesting that even IM believed they were in the wrong and didn’t expect the results of the jury verdict].

    2) “The importance of this story is that it suggests that Moon Express lacks sufficient capital to do what it claims.” We paid Intuitive Machines over $3M in contract payments in the course of 8 months. The publicly available court docs show that we held two payments totaling ~$500K for non-delivery of products required by the contract, but only after we provided notices of none-compliance detailing their failures to deliver the required products. We unfortunately had to resort to suing them after their continued failure to remedy. The issue was not our ability to continue paying, it was about Intuitive Machine not delivering.

    3) “The decision further robs it of more capital.” Our lawsuit against Intuitive Machines is still under litigation and Moon Express has not paid a penny to Intuitive Machines. As the article cited states, we are appealing the jury’s verdict, and we believe a higher court will agree that we are the victim and that justice will ultimately prevail.

    We hope these clarifications are helpful to set the record straight.

    Moon Express, Inc.

  • Moon Express PR: Thank you for the clarifications. Very helpful.

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