Deep Space Industries Acquired by Bradford Space

SAN JOSE, Calif., January 2, 2019 (Bradford Space PR) — Bradford Space, a U.S.-owned space systems manufacturer with locations in the Netherlands and Sweden, announced today that it has acquired control over Deep Space Industries, Inc., often known as DSI. In becoming part of the Bradford group, DSI will become Bradford’s first substantial U.S. presence, providing an outlet and location for activities in the U.S. space market.

Founded in 2012 as an ambitious effort to mine the resources of the asteroids, DSI has more recently become known for the production of the Comet water-based electrothermal propulsion system. Four Comet systems are currently on orbit on spacecraft operated by Capella Space and HawkEye 360. Other customers of DSI include LeoStella, a joint venture of Spaceflight and Thales Alenia Space, and the Space Flight Laboratory, a satellite development group inside the University of Toronto.

Said Bradford Director Ian Fichtenbaum, “We appreciate the strong support by customers for the Comet product. Their ongoing interest gave us the confidence in contirnuing to develop the product line.”

The addition of the Comet product line is seen as critical to Bradford’s development as a world-leading supplier of non-toxic space propulsion systems and will be a complement to the Bradford ECAPS ‘green’ propulsion systems. ECAPS propulsion systems are already found on fifteen orbiting spacecraft with more planned for launch in 2019, said Bradford & ECAPS Managing Director Patrick van Put. ECAPS propulsion systems were found on three spacecraft on the recently launched Spaceflight SSO-A mission, alongside four spacecraft equipped with DSI Comet systems.

In acquiring control of DSI, Bradford has also assumed ownership and continued development of the Xplorer mission bus, a project by DSI to provide a lower-cost basis for deep-space missions. Said Ian, “The DSI team provided very innovative solutions to the problem of exploring the solar system at a reasonable cost, and we are eager to see if that can be developed with the help of Bradford technologies. We believe in developing and exploring the riches of the solar system and we want to be among the ones to make it happen.”

Going forward, DSI will be rebranded as Bradford Space, Inc., or colloquially as ‘BSI’, in reference to the former name. DSI operations will also continue in San Jose, California in the heart of Silicon Valley, but now under the Bradford name and leadership.

For more information about Bradford Space, visit www.bradford-space.com.

  • savuporo

    Much better landing strip than Planetary Resources scored.

    Are we now officially done with this wave of “space mining” ridiculousness ?

  • Jeff Smith

    You’d think, BBUUUUUT… you know it’ll keep coming up. 🙂

    What’s the realistic timeline for something like this? 50 years? MORE? We aren’t doing ISRU on the Moon, cuz we ain’t THERE right now. We’ll be doing pilot ISRU there in what – the 30s? Maybe the 40s or 50s?

    Meh, it was 500 years between Vikings in the Americas and Colombus. These are the kinds of timelines we are talking about here.

  • savuporo

    > We aren’t doing ISRU on the Moon, cuz we ain’t THERE right now.

    We are trying to on Mars though next year.

    Which is ridiculous issue of prioritization, when things like Resource Prospector got cancelled.

  • redneck

    I think your pessimism is a bit excessive. Premature now is pretty clear, centuries is not. The business model changes when reusable launchers become common. Whether it is five years of thirty five, when a reusable vehicle is idle, there is strong incentive to find payloads for it. That is when prospecting becomes financially interesting. A cheap prospecting launch paid for by some deluded nutjob that happens to be right once changes everything.

    Also, the rate of technology advance is enormously faster than Viking-Columbus era. There was far less difference between a viking long boat and the Santa Maria than anything now compared to its’ counterpart a few decades ago.

  • Jeff Smith

    I think I’m quite optimistic. We keep chipping away at these problems (and I do too in my part of it) and I fully believe we are going to solve them all and more!

    While I’m always ready to be proven wrong by facts, I think it’s going to take longer than any of us might like. While we are certainly far ahead of Columbus, the SCALE of the challenges are actually quite similar.

    As for the example you cite, Saturns rockets were made of aluminum and burned LOX/Kerosene, just like Falcon 9/Heavy. Atlas was made of stainless steel, the same thing they way to make Starship (Jefferson Airplane) Out of. NASA made gumdrop capsules and then a spaceplane. SpaceX made gumdrop capsules and now wants a spaceplane.

    The manufacturing processes are better and we know more now, but things are remarkably similar to the start of the space age. The trick is to just keep at it and trying new things and old things until we figure it out.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Although the asteroids have a lot a resources they are too far to mine with available technology. The first mining activities will be on the Moon in support of lunar operations.

  • redneck

    I would suggest that the current crop of launch vehicles is as far ahead of those a half century ago as Columbus was ahead Erikson of a half millennia earlier. I also disagree that the magnitude of the problem, relative to available technology is equivalent to the Viking-Spain problem.

    It will be relatively well known what the resources and relative difficulty are before real mining begins. Remote exploration (telescopes) and microsats can resolve much of the uncertainty well before major operations begin. Even the concept of cubesats was SF half a century ago. It is the business case more than anything else that will slow things down.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Falcon 9 is way ahead of the ICBM derived space launch vehicles and can be reconditioned for re-launch. Twice, so far. That’s a decade of work and the payback is two reflights. And we think that’s amazing. That’s how primitive we are.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Don’t worry, Elon Musk is working on it 😊

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Sorry bud, after 15 years of Elon and company doing their best that’s where we’re at. Your lord god Elon and the good people at Space X can only do so much so fast. They’re the best we have so far, but the gap between what’s needed and and what they’ve produced is a chasm. But that even avoids the reality in front of our faces right now. The market as it is cannot make proper use of what Falcon 9 provides now, let alone make use of a truly reusable Falcon 9. Then there’s BFR/ BFS, no paying customer needs that. It addresses no market need. Space X and you will be running to the government to give it work.

  • duheagle

    For ISRU on the Moon? Certainly the 2030’s. Quite possibly sooner than that.

  • duheagle

    Resource Prospector got canceled because it was a single mission on an SLS-like development schedule. The CLPS program stood up in its place will use multiple commercial landers/rovers to put instruments originally intended for Resource Prospector on Luna years earlier than they would have gotten there otherwise – if at all. Lunar exploration is not slowing down, it’s speeding up.

  • duheagle

    Exactly how wanting the government to quit doing things incompetently and expensively that it could just buy from private suppliers for far less makes us “socialists” is a bit of a mystery. The mental processes of reflexive statists such as yourself continue to be a matter of fascination.

    We “socialists” wish SLS shut down because it’s a profligate waste.

    Over the next few years, the market seems poised to make quite a bit of use of what Falcon 9/Heavy make available. One reason comsat constellations didn’t fly in the late 90’s was launch costs.

    And, contra you, even SH-Starship has one commercial customer already. He’s not going to be the last. Once SH-Starship is operational, even the U.S. government will find things for it to do.

    Of course the gap between what we need to do to create a spacefaring civilization and what SpaceX has thus far accomplished is a chasm. But it’s a narrower chasm than that between what would be needed and what the State – any State – has done. And the sense of urgency, at least until recently, has been entirely SpaceX’s. SpaceX has done plenty over the last 17 years. But it did all this from a standing start. It’s gotten up quite ahead of steam in the interim. The next 17 years are going to be quite eye-popping.

  • Paul451

    In space, delta-v matters more than distance. In that sense, the lunar surface is further away than a few thousand asteroids.