To support that prototype mission, Deep Space Industries has partnered with Luxembourg. Eventually, a harvester spacecraft will dig up the stuff these instruments see, and sell it for cash dollars. Which is why it’s important to realize that Prospector-1’s bones are a “solar system exploration platform,” says Crawford. Once Deep Space Industries has its own Prospector-1, it plans to sell other copies of the platform to other entities. Deep Space Industries has taken a page out of NASA’s book and is commercializing the component technology behind the still-unbuilt Prospectors.
Instead of using the typical flammable fuel for thrust, these spacecraft use superheated water vapor, shot from their Comet-1™ thruster.
But just as there’s no guarantee Musk will make it to Mars, there’s no guarantee Deep Space Industries will mine any asteroids.
At least its timeline is fast enough—with prospecting planned to begin by 2020—that we can all hold our breath.
think of asteroids, they might think of phrases like “civilization killer.” Or “boring rock.” But other people think “business opportunity.” A growing set of companies, including Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources, want to mine asteroids for all they’re worth.
It reads like a solid business model: Deep Space Industries calls Silicon Valley home, they’re cozy with NASA and its own asteroid program, they sell the technology that may eventually be good for mining asteroids but is useful for other purposes today, they’re getting people hooked on the kinds of space systems that asteroids can resupply, and they want to jump start national space programs.“Their strategy is akin to what Elon Musk has done with going to Mars,” says Chris De May, co-founder of Hawk Eye360.
There’s a huge long-term goal, and then all these on-the-way money-maker-technology-advancers.