Locally sourced for local use.
Supporting space commerce with space resources.
The business of space is growing rapidly. It is currently a $330 billion industry with accelerating growth. The number of new private companies being created to use space commercially is at an all-time high, with $13.3 billion invested in over eighty space startup companies since 2000. Continuing rapid growth of in-space businesses will increase the need for an in-space supply of propellants, life support materials, metals, and other commodities. This is the goal of Deep Space Industries: in-space delivery of the right materials, to the right place, for the right price, to support the sustainable expansion of Earth’s economy into space.
Asteroid resources include all the same materials planets are made of, providing an abundant supply of exactly what we need in space. Specifically, C-group and related classes of asteroids contain high abundances of water and important elements — including organic carbon, sulfur, nitrogen, and phosphorus — as well as ferrous metals.
Is asteroid mining legal?
Near Earth Asteroids.
The initial targets for mining are those that pass through Earth’s neighborhood. Many water-rich Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) are easy to access as they travel around the Sun in very similar orbits to Earth. Additionally, these small bodies have very little mass, and therefore very little gravity, making it easy to extract resources.
Asteroid mining begins with prospecting for the best resources. Then materials are harvested and processed into refined, usable supplies. Finally, these resources can be manufactured into finished products. DSI and its partners are developing end-to-end technologies to accomplish these steps in the unique environment of space.
Because water will fuel the future.
Water is the most abundant chemical compound in the Universe. It is abundant in our solar system and is fundamental to life and business operations in space. Water is vital to supporting human habitation for things such as drinking water, agriculture, radiation shielding, and oxygen. Additionally, water, as super-heated vapor, can be used as propellant. It can also be broken down into its constituent parts — liquid hydrogen and oxygen — to be used as fuel.
Water is at the core of Deep Space Industries’ work both today and in the future. It is the first resource we will harvest, and the first product we will sell. It is the basis for the propulsion systems that are being integrated into small satellites today, such as DSI’s market-optimized Comet-1™ thruster. Water is the core resource that will support businesses and humans in space.
The Deep Space Approach
4 Phases of Asteroid Mining
Using tiny scouts to locate and evaluate space resources.
Deep Space Industries will soon launch its first prospecting missions, using advanced, small spacecraft — like Prospector™ — to explore and study Near Earth Asteroids. These prospecting spacecraft will be fitted with sophisticated scientific equipment to help them find water, metals, silicates, and more.
Using robotic spacecraft to extract and transport resources.
After prospecting missions have identified the best locations for mining, Deep Space Industries will send specialized robotic spacecraft to begin harvesting resources such as water. Using the company’s next generation Comet water thruster, water extracted from the target asteroid can also be used as propellant for the return trip.
Separating resources into usable materials.
Once asteroid materials are returned to near-Earth space, they can then be processed into fuel, drinking water, and building supplies. Harvesting spacecraft will unload their cargo to a processing complex that begins the detailed separation and evolution of materials, getting them ready for manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing in microgravity.
Manufacturing in microgravity and hard vacuum offers both opportunities and challenges. The upside of making things in space includes the ability to create very large structures that would never fit into the confines of a launch vehicle’s payload fairing. Huge solar arrays to produce energy and enormous antenna to enhance communications satellites are among the possibilities.
Experience the Future [VIDEO]
The how of getting there
An asteroid the size of a football field is headed straight towards us. And it will be here within days. But not to worry because 2017 BS5 will pass by Earth at a safe yet cosmically-snug gap of just 3.15 lunar distances (roughly 756,000 miles). Discovered this February, 2017 BS5 is one of five near-Earth asteroids with close approaches the folks at NASA and the Jet Propulsion Lab have their eye on. Read More…
The NIAC grant will research the manufacturing of an aerobrake system from the asteroid’s regolith (soil) collected from mining operations. The aerobrake system would act as a large heat shield that would allow the spacecraft to pass through Earth’s atmosphere, creating enough drag to slow down the payload without using propellant. Read More…
It’s called Bennu. And scientists have been waiting for a long time to get their hands on it. Scheduled for a September 8 launch, NASA is set to embark on the first asteroid sample return mission in its history. Their deep space explorer, OSIRIS-REx, is the third spacecraft in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. The other two include the wildly successful New Horizons mission to Pluto last year, and spacecraft Juno’s historic long-term orbit of Jupiter which began in August. Read More…
Deep Space Industries announced today its plans to fly the world’s first commercial interplanetary mining mission. Prospector-1™ will fly to and rendezvous with a near-Earth asteroid, and investigate the object to determine its value as a source of space resources. This mission is an important step in the company’s overall plans to harvest and supply in-space resources to support the growing space economy. Read More…
As mankind endeavors to open the frontier of space, and companies like Deep Space Industries prepare for asteroid mining missions in the next few years, concerns about environmental impact are being raised. So we asked Dr. John S. Lewis, chief scientist at DSI, about the realities of asteroid environments and the impact human activities will have on our near-Earth orbital companions. Read More…
Meet near-Earth asteroid 2016 HO3. The newly-discovered “quasi-satellite” that NASA scientists say has been locked in a celestial dance with Earth for more than a century and will continue to be for centuries to come. With a width of only 40–100 meters and an average distance from Earth of 26.5 million kilometers, this curious companion was detected on April 27, 2016 by the Pan-STARRS 1 asteroid survey telescope on Haleakala, Hawaii, operated by the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy and funded by NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office. Read More…
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