Luxembourg to Launch a Fund Offering Financial Support for Space Resources Industry

LUXEMBOURG (Luxembourg Government PR – To promote Luxembourg as a European hub for the exploration and commercial use of space resources, the Ministry of the Economy conducted from April 9th to April 13th an economic mission headed by Luxembourg’s Crown Prince to the U.S. West Coast. The mission aimed to identify and develop new business opportunities and to promote the governmental SpaceResources.lu initiative that offers an attractive overall framework for space resource utilization related activities, including but not limited to the legal regime to provide private companies and investors with a secure legal environment as of the ownership of resources gathered in space.

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NIAC Awards Take Aim at Asteroid Mining, ISRU

Asteroid Itokawa (Credit: JAXA)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program recently awarded five grants for the development of new technologies for analyzing asteroids, extracting resources from them, and using the materials for new space products.

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NIAC Phase I Award: DSI’s Space Built Aerobrakes

Massively Expanded NEA Accessibility via Microwave-Sintered Aerobrakes (Credit: John Lewis)

Massively Expanded NEA Accessibility via Microwave-Sintered Aerobrakes

John Lewis
Deep Space Industries, Inc.
Moffett Field, Calif.

Value: Approximately $125,000
Length of Study: 9 months

Description

The two fundamental prerequisites for large-scale economic use of space resources are: in-space manufacture of propellants from nonterrestrial bodies, and in-space manufacture of heat shields for low-cost capture of materials into Earth orbit.

The former has been the subject of recent NIAC investigations. The latter would expand by a factor of 30 to 100 time the number of asteroids from which resources could be returned cost-effectively to Earth orbit.

With vastly larger populations from which to choose, return opportunities will be much more frequent and targets can be selected where operations would be highly productive, not merely sufficient.

The feedstocks for manufacture of life-support materials and propellants are found on C-type near-Earth asteroids, which have high concentrations of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur. The total abundance of readily extractable (HCNOS) volatiles in the CI chondritic meteorite parent bodies (C asteroids) is roughly 40% of the total meteorite mass. Further, the residue from extraction of volatiles includes a mix of metallic iron (10% of total mass), iron oxide and iron sulphides (20% as Fe) plus 1% Ni and ~0.1% Co.

We propose to use microwave heating to 1) expedite selective release of H2O vapor from heated C asteroid solids, and 2) sinter highly outgassed refractory asteroidal material to make heat shields for aerocapture at Earth return.

We will study both processes experimentally using C-type asteroid simulant made by Deep Space Industries under contract with NASA, and study the logistics of retrieval of asteroid materials to Earth orbit using these aerobrakes.

The result will be a uniquely propellant-rich deep space exploration architecture with faster timetables enabled by the greater engineering and safety margins allowed by abundant propellant.

Full List of 2017 NIAC Awards

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ExoTerra to Become First Privately Owned Space Company to Fly to an Asteroid

Solar electric propulsion system. (Credit: ExoTerra Resources)

LITTLETON, Colo., March 27, 2017 (Exoterra PR) — NASA has awarded ExoTerra Corporation a $2.5M contract to demonstrate a novel solar electric propulsion system for CubeSats that will enable the shoebox-sized spacecraft to triple their available power and produce over 2.5 km/s of propulsion.

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DSI Hires CEO

Bill Miller
Bill Miller

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Deep Space Industries is excited to announce that Bill Miller will be joining the company as chief executive officer to position DSI for rapid growth in the coming years. With an impeccable track record of growing technology companies, Bill brings game-changing approaches, solutions, and perspectives to DSI through his experience in defining, developing, and delivering results for dynamic organizations.

“Bill is a proven difference-maker and change agent who knows how to deliver solutions by crafting a vision and executing strategy that leads to concrete results,” said Rick Tumlinson, DSI’s chair of the board of DSI. “He brings the exact type of leadership and experience that will be instrumental to the growth of DSI in the coming years.”

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Mx Space to Partner with Asteroid Mining Firm, Deep Space Industries

dsi_logoGUADALAJARA, Mexico. September 28, 2016 (Mx Space/DSI PR) — On September 29, at 11:00 a.m. local time, Deep Space Industries (DSI) and MxSpace will sign an historic agreement that marks the beginning of an international partnership between the companies to promote the development of new commercial space technologies and business ventures. Dr. Francisco Mendieta from Agencia Espacial Mexicana (AEM), as well as executives from both MxSpace and Deep Space Industries, will take part in the signing ceremony at the MxSpace booth (booth #24) on the trade show floor of the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara.

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Links to Parabolic Arc’s Coverage of Small Satellite 2016 Conference

SkyFire’s new infrared technology will help NASA enhance its knowledge of the lunar surface. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)
SkyFire’s new infrared technology will help NASA enhance its knowledge of the lunar surface. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

The Small Satellite 2016 Conference is now over. Below are links to Parabolic Arc’s coverage of the conference and the CubeSat Workshop that preceded it last weekend. There are also links to announcements made during the conference and in recent weeks.

Small Satellite Conference Coverage

Recent Smallsat News & Announcements

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Smallsat 2016: Updates on Planetary Resources, HawkEye 360

Ceres constellation (Credit: Planetary Resources)
Ceres constellation (Credit: Planetary Resources)

Planetary Resources and Hawkeye 360 gave updates on the remote sensing satellites they are planning to launch. The summaries below are courtesy of the following Tweeters:

  • Jeff Foust ‏@jeff_foust
  • David Hurst ‏@OrbitalDave
  • brianweeden ‏@brianweeden
  • Eric Anderson ‏@AndOneTech

Planetary Resources
Hannah Goldberg

  • Currently testing midwave infrared (IR) instrument using a Cessna aircraft
  • Two Arkyd-6 CubeSats will test IR instruments in space
  • First Arkyd-6 satellite to launch in Fall 2016, second in early 2017
  • Constellation of 10 larger Ceres spacecraft designed for Earth remote sensing
  • Hope to have Ceres constellation by 2018

HawkEye 360
Daniel CaJacob

  • Pathfinder constellation with 3 microsats flying in formation designed to triangulate radio frequency (RF) emissions from the ground
  • Launch of first 3 microsats planned for fourth quarter 2017
  • Deep Space Industries is prime contractor for satellites
  • University of Toronto Space Flight Laboratory is supplying the satellite bus
  • Satellites are pathfinders for a full commercial constellation of RF mapping and analytics system
  • Technology uses: ionospheric study, spectrum mapping, asset and natural resources monitoring, emergency response

Entrepreneurial Lingo Lesson: The Pivot

twist_chubby1_disrupt copy
First in an irregular series on entrepreneurial buzz words

Come on let’s pivot again,
Like we did last quarter!
Yeaaah, let’s pivot again,
Like we did last year!

Do you remember when,
ROI was really hummin’,
Yeaaaah, let’s pivot again,
Pivotin’ time is here!

Heeee, and round and round til IPO we go!
Oh, baby, make those investors love us so!

Let’s pivot again,
Like we did last quarter!
Yeaaah, let’s pivot again,
Like we did last year!

There comes a time in the existence of many startups when there an urgent need to change direction. You set up the company to pursue a goal, but for one reason or several — a lack of a market, shortage of investment, regulatory hurdles, a flawed concept — you have to direct all that talent, technology and enthusiasm toward a new objective that will keep the company in operation.

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SpaceResources.lu: New Law to Provide Framework for Space Resource Utilization

Asteroid Eros
Asteroid Eros

LUXEMBOURG CITY (Luxembourg Government PR) — The Luxembourg Government forges ahead with the SpaceResources.lu initiative by presenting an overall strategy to be implemented progressively for the exploration and commercial utilization of resources from Near Earth Objects (NEOs), such as asteroids. Amongst the key actions undertaken is the establishment of an appropriate legal and regulatory framework for space resource utilization activities to provide private companies and investors with a secure legal environment.

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Deep Space Industries, SFL to Provide Satellites for HawkEye 360’s Pathfinder Mission

dsi_logoMOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) — Deep Space Industries, Inc. has been selected by HawkEye 360 as the satellite provider for its Pathfinder small satellite mini-constellation. This is the first step towards the launch of the full commercial constellation of HawkEye 360’s space-based radio frequency mapping and analytics system.

Deep Space Industries (DSI) is the prime contractor for the development and manufacturing of the satellites that will host HawkEye 360’s proprietary data processing technology. The system will use space-based detection of radio signals to locate and characterize wireless spectrum information from Earth.

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NASA Selects ISRU Projects for SBIR Awards

NASA LOGONASA has selected eight research projects focused on in-situ resource utilization for funding under its Small Business Innovation Research Phase I program.

The selected projects include:

  • Extraterrestrial Metals Processing — Pioneer Astronautics
  • Robotic ISRU Construction of Planetary Landing and Launch Pad — Honeybee Robotics
  • Extruded Clay-Based Regoliths for Construction on Mars, Phobos and NEAs — Deep Space Industries
  • In-Situ Generation of Polymer Concrete Construction Materials — Luna Innovations
  • ISP3: In-Situ Printing Plastic Production System for Space Additive Manufacturing — Altius Space Machines
  • Compact In-Situ Polyethylene Production from Carbon Dioxide — Opus 12
  • Micro-Channel Reactor for Processing Carbon Dioxide to Ethylene — Reactive Innovations
  • OpenSWIFT-SDR for STRS Polyethylene Production from In-Situ Resources in Microchannel Reactors — TDA Research

Full descriptions of the projects are below.

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Deep Space Industries, Luxembourg Government Announce Prospector-X Mission

Deep_Space_Prospector_X
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) — Asteroid mining company Deep Space Industries, together with the Luxembourg Government and the Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement (SNCI), the national banking institution in Luxembourg, have signed an agreement formalizing their partnership to explore, use, and commercialize space resources as part of Luxembourg’s spaceresources.lu initiative.

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Deep Space Industries Selected for NASA SBIR Phase II Award

dsi_logoNASA has selected asteroid mining company Deep Space Industries for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II award to continue work on developing and testing of asteroid soil simulants.

The project is aimed at producing “at least four asteroid simulants at high fidelity for mineral content and particle size, created through standardized inputs and documented processes” for use by terrestrial researchers in a variety of programs.

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