Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




IRON AND ICE
Galactic Gold Rush: Asteroid Mining to Start This Summer
by Staff Writers
Moscow (Sputnik) May 12, 2015


For a larger version of this image please go here.

Asteroid mining may not be the stuff of sci-fi flicks for long, as one company prepares to launch its first exploratory satellite from the International Space Station in July. Planetary Resources is one of the companies hoping to strike it rich by mining the mineral resources of asteroids.

And the company's Arkyd-3R - currently docked at the ISS - is ready for its first demonstration mission, an initial test that will lay the groundwork for future probes to start mining valuable resources on near earth asteroids (NEAs).

"During its 90-day Earth-orbiting mission, it will send back data on the health of its subsystems to our team at our headquarters in Redmond, Washington, and complete its mission with a fiery re-entry into Earth's atmosphere as a result of its natural atmospheric orbital decay," representatives of the company wrote when the probe was finally on its way to the ISS in April via SpaceX's Falcon9 rocket.

The Arkyd-3R (for "Reflight") is a second attempt to get a test probe launched from the ISS. The first Arkyd-3 was destroyed in the October 28 explosion of Orbital's Antares rocket, in an attempt to bring supplies to the ISS. Both Orbital and SpaceX have multi-billion contracts with NASA for resupply missions to the station.

The Arkyd-6 will follow later this year, and its mission will be "not only to test the scientific instruments and deep-space technologies at the heart of our asteroid-prospecting missions, but to also provide a platform that will allow others to fly their mission with our technology," Planetary Resources says.

Planetary Resources made Galactic Gold Rush: Asteroid Mining to Start This Summers when high profile investors like Google's Larry Page, Eric Schmidt and Bechtel Corporation decided to back their ventures. And they also broke innovative financing ground in 2013 when they used Kickstarter to crowdfund their Arkyd-100 telescope, scheduled to launch later this year.

Deep Space Industries (DSI) is another player on the asteroid mining scene, and plans to launch their first scouts in 2016. DSI's "business is based on supplying what commercial customers in Earth orbit need to operate, as well as serving NASA's needs for its Moon and Mars exploration," said CEO Daniel Faber in a press release last year after DSI won two contracts from NASA.

Of particular importance for ventures like DSI is the idea of harvesting materials needed for space exploration in space itself, so as to avoid the enormous costs of having to launch them out of Earth's atmosphere.

"Right now it costs $17 million per ton to get anything up to geosynchronous orbit," David Gump, vice chairman of Deep Space, told the Boston Globe in November. "If we can beat whatever that price is in 2022, we'll have a big market."

Water, in particular, could be a key resources for these asteroid miners, since its component parts - hydrogen and oxygen - are needed for rocket fuel.

"Asteroids hold the resources necessary to enable a sustainable, even indefinite presence in space - for science, commerce and continued prosperity here on Earth," Chris Lewicki, president and "chief asteroid miner" of Planetary Resources, said in a statement about a NASA contract of their own.

Space, Open for Business?
While space exploration has only recently become a private-sector venture, after decades dominated by publicly funded bodies like NASA or the European Space Agency, opinions on the role of private industry versus government programs remains split, depending on who you ask.

Lewicki, perhaps unsurprisingly, thinks that the future is privately funded, and directed towards commercial purposes. He told Mic.com that, in resource mining, "we will find an economic engine to fund the exploration of space."

"I think it is the golden age of the new space race," Lewicki said of the private sector's entrance into the field. "Rather than two competing superpowers, what we really have now is dozens, maybe even hundreds, of competing capitalists."

When asked about the future of space businesses, Neil deGrasse Tyson agreed there's a fortune to be made by those who get in on the ground floor of the asteroid game.

"The first trillionaire there will ever be is the person who exploits the natural resources on asteroids," he said in an interview on CNBC's On the Money.

But he disagreed about the role of the government, and said the starting point will be with state funded programs, not private initiatives, due to the initial startup costs, and the long wait until a real return on investment for a private company.

"The first Europeans to the New World were not [part of] the Dutch East India Trading Company," he pointed out. "It was Columbus - paid by Spain. It was a national initiative."

Both companies have been contracted by NASA and at least initially, their financial viability depends partly on supplying existing public ventures with services and resources.

"During the current prospecting phase, Deep Space revenue sources include providing data to scientists and NASA, and enabling corporate marketers to activate their customers through direct participation in the asteroid adventure," David Gump, Vice Chair and Director of Marketing for DSI explained in a statement.

Meanwhile, NASA gets valuable information from the companies while saving money on research and development costs, as they try to get in on the asteroid action themselves.

On the heels of the ESA's successful Rosetta mission, safely landing its Philae module on a comet, NASA plans to land its own spacecraft, the OSIRIS-Rex, on an asteroid known as Bennu, in September 2016.

Source: Sputnik News


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Planetary Resources
Asteroid and Comet Mission News, Science and Technology






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





IRON AND ICE
Tracking Japan's asteroid impact mission
Paris (ESA) May 03, 2015
ESA is set to support Japan's 'touch-and-go' Hayabusa-2 spacecraft, now en route to a little-known asteroid, helping to boost the scientific return from this audacious mission. A flawless launch last December marked the start of a six-year round-trip for Japan's Hayabusa-2, which is on course to arrive at the carbon-rich asteroid 1999 JU3 in June 2018. Once there, it will study the surface ... read more


IRON AND ICE
NASA's LRO Moves Closer to the Lunar Surface

European Space Agency Director Wants to Set Up a Moon Base

Russia Invites China to Join in Creating Lunar Station

Japan to land first unmanned spacecraft on moon in 2018

IRON AND ICE
UAE says on track to send probe to Mars in 2021

Student Mars Rover team will compete in Utah desert

4,000+ Martian Days of Work on Mars!

NASA Announces Journey to Mars Challenge

IRON AND ICE
Aitech Provides Subsystem and Computing Boards for Commercial Crew

NASA Confirms Electromagnetic Drive Produces Thrust in Vacuum

NASA pushes back against proposal to slash climate budget

Hawaii Says 'Aloha' to NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator

IRON AND ICE
3D printer making Chinese space suit parts

Xinhua Insight: How China joins space club?

Chinese scientists mull power station in space

China completes second test on new carrier rocket's power system

IRON AND ICE
Manned mission to ISS to be delayed due to cargo spacecraft's failure

Progress Incident Not Threatening Orbital Station, Work of Crew

Russia loses control of unmanned spacecraft

Japanese astronaut to arrive in ISS in May

IRON AND ICE
Successful SpaceX escape test 'bodes well for future'

'Team Patrick-Cape' supports Pad Abort Test

Local launch expertise; world-wide attention

ILS And Dauria announce Proton/Angara dual launch services agreement

IRON AND ICE
Astrophysicists offer proof that famous image shows forming planets

Astronomers detect drastic atmospheric change in super Earth

New exoplanet too big for its star

Robotically discovering Earth's nearest neighbors

IRON AND ICE
Scientists create cheaper magnetic material for cars, wind turbines

Damaging Radiation Effects on Travelers to Mars

From brittle to plastic in one breath

Space radiation: CSU studies risks for astronauts journeying to Mars




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.