A small 110-pound vehicle will travel to celestial bodies by 2020, with the intent to mine for ice water, building materials, and precious metals.
Designed by Deep Space Industries, Prospector-1 is set to carryout the first commercial mining mission beyond our planet’s orbit by flying to near-Earth asteroids.
This mission is an important step in the firm’s overall plans to harvest and supply in-space resources to support the growing space economy.
‘Deep Space Industries has worked diligently to get to this point, and now we can say with confidence that we have the right technology, the right team and the right plan to execute this historic mission,’ said Rick Tumlinson, chairman of the board and co-founder of Deep Space Industries.
‘Building on our Prospector-X mission, Prospector-1 will be the next step on our way to harvesting asteroid resources.’
Deep Space Industries (DSI) is pioneering what could be the next gold and hopes to lead the world in this new industry.
The firm believes near-Earth asteroids could house valuable resources such as water that can be transformed into breathable oxygen and drinking water as well as building materials and precious metals.
Water will be the first asteroid mining product, so the ability to use water as propellant will provide future DSI spacecraft with the ability to refuel in space.
A smaller vehicle was unveiled earlier this year by DSI that will test future asteroid hunting missions to help perfect the process and technology.
Prospector X will test water-powered propulsion, optical navigational systems and other technologies – and this spacecraft is set to launch in 2017.
But before the decade is over, Prospector-1 will head for the final frontier to begin the world’s every first mining exploration mission.
‘DSI’s Prospector missions will usher in a new era of low cost space exploration’ said Grant Bonin, chief engineer at Deep Space Industries.
‘DSI is developing Prospector-1 both for its own asteroid mining ambitions, as well as to bring an extremely low-cost, yet high-performance exploration capability to the market.
We hope to enable both existing and new public and private organizations to explore the inner solar system using this affordable platform.’
Prospector-1 will launch into low-Earth orbit as a secondary payload and then use its own chemical propulsion stage to head towards its chosen asteroids outside the orbit.
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