Ibadan, 30 January 2023. – AstroForge Inc. has announced that it has signed a contract with Orbital Astronautics Ltd (OrbAstro), a satellite and in-orbit service provider, to fly a 100kg-class spacecraft into deep space for an asteroid survey mission. The spacecraft will tentatively launch in late 2023 with Intuitive Machines, a space exploration, infrastructure, and services company, using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The mission serves as a prospecting activity and stepping-stone towards AstroForge’s ambitions for asteroid mining.
The OrbAstro ORB-50 satellite platform (100kg-class) will host an array of AstroForge payloads associated with assessing asteroids. Furthermore, the spacecraft will utilize a Lunar slingshot and a Dawn Aerospace propulsion system for the 8-month transit to the asteroid, which is in a heliocentric orbit approximately 22 million miles from Earth.
“With a finite supply of precious metals on Earth, we have no choice but to look to deep space to source cost-effective and sustainable materials,” said Matt Gialich, CEO and co-founder of AstroForge. “As we embark on our journey to preserve our planet’s future, we’re grateful to our technology partners like OrbAstro for helping us to become the most efficient, cost-effective asteroid mining solution in the world.”
Similarly, Dr. Ash Dove-Jay, CEO and Founder of OrbAstro, said, “Deep-space has until now only been within the remit of governments. This is the first fully commercial deep-space mission ever; it is a significant milestone for the space industry. The caliber, speed, and ambition at AstroForge are inspiring – and it is fantastic to forge ahead on this journey together.”