Startup looking to mine asteroids books a ride on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
AstroForge, a Y Combinator startup, has secured a seat on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on a ridesharing basis after closing a seed funding round worth US$13 million. The flight aboard a Falcon 9 which is scheduled for next year, is the first of two space missions that AstroForge is eyeing up. Per TweakTown and TechCrunch, this initial mission will be a demonstration for which the company has partnered with OrbAstro to build a satellite.
AstroForge was founded by two ex-NASA, SpaceX, and Virgin Orbit employees. The company is looking to exploit small asteroids, ranging from 20 m (65.6 ft) to 1.5 Km (0.93 miles) in diameter, that are rich in Plutonium group metals like rhodium in the near-Earth orbit.
While we don’t know exactly how the startup will mine asteroids that small, AstroForge has hinted that the technology it is developing will use a high-rated vacuum in zero gravity and not require landing on the asteroid. The company has already shortlisted close to a million possible asteroids.
Despite the countless challenges associated with mining asteroids, AstroForge is hopeful that it will start mining before the decade ends.