The harvest of space is going to be the biggest industrial transformation in human history, but it will not happen overnight.
Deep Space Industries is playing the long game and will position itself to be the leader in space resource harvesting and utilization by developing a carefully planned track record of capability, credibility and expertise.
DSI believes that by getting onto the field right now, even before the game has really begun, we can help make it happen, set the rules and assure that we – and our investors – win.
The timescales we are talking about are not the typical short term cycles many entrepreneurs today consider the norm. Our approach and plan is closer to that of industries that think in the long term – for example terrestrial mining and resource companies, where projects can take many years to mature. Given we are doing this in a totally new area of endeavour, we have even more to prove, and have steeled ourselves for a marathon rather than a sprint.
Yet at the same time, we know it will be important to show progress, develop credibility and most importantly create income early.
This is being accomplished initially by creating patentable devices and concepts, and mounting small-but-daring asteroid missions at fractions of traditional cost that build competence and earn revenue from commercial branding, NASA and other agencies. Over time, this early revenue leverages the company into serving huge industries such as communications satellites and terrestrial electrical power utilities. Once these private-sector markets are addressed, DSI revenue will grow past a billion dollars annually.
In fact, while the promise is beyond imagining, we are a few years away from the arrival of large-scale markets for space resources. Yet we believe now is the right time to begin developing the means to win those markets. To do this DSI initially will develop a carefully planned set of incremental projects and demonstrations that build partnerships and new intellectual property for critical capabilities needed for our eventual prime market – the harvesting, processing and utilization of space-based resources.
The key to opening the frontier of space is learning how to “live off the land.” DSI will become THE expert in new ways to extract and process materials and supplies from space resources. Using proprietary technology and systems we will be able to take the raw feedstock we bring back from asteroids and turn it into air, water, propellant and structures we need in a new space industrial economy.
As we begin the commercial development of space, many of the capabilities once accomplished under government-funded programs are being reborn as much less expensive private-sector services. In addition, some goals have never been achieved before such as harvesting space resources to sustain affordable exploration and development. The intellectual property we will generate, the new ways of doing things we create and invent, all will have their own value, as almost everything we do will be “new.” And of course we believe, given the history of how space exploration has affected our lives already, that our work will lead to many new “spin – back” products and technologies that will change how we do things on Earth.
As we grow these capabilities we will serve existing orbital customers, especially commercial communications satellites. DSI-delivered propellant will double the profitable lifetimes of comsats that otherwise would run out of station-keeping fuel. Other orbital customers, such as the International Space Station and upcoming habitats from Bigelow Aerospace, must import water, fuel and spares at tremendous cost from Earth that DSI can supply from asteroids. As new government and private space facilities come online and crewed missions are prepared to travel to the Moon and Mars, DSI will provide their propellant, air and the materials needed to shield them from radiation.
DSI can sell to orbital customers at lower cost because our products are “locally sourced” from near Earth asteroids (NEAs) rather than hauled up the Earth’s deep gravity well. For example, even “dirt” (or in this case ground up asteroidal material) will be worth its weight in gold in space, as it will be important to build shields many meters thick around long term human facilities outside the Earth’s magnetic field as protection from cosmic rays. As we prospect for and process these basic resources and materials we will tap into nearly endless supplies of rare metals and elements. Later DSI will deliver metals and energy (carbon-free and radiation-free) to the enormous global markets on Earth.