China to launch first space mining robot in November – by Anna Golubova (Kitco News – September 28, 2020)

(Kitco News) Chinese company Origin Space is scheduled to launch the world’s first asteroid mining robot in November. But no actual mining will be done on the mission as the goal is to test the equipment.

The Beijing-based private company plans to launch NEO-1, a 30-kg satellite, via a Chinese Long March series rocket as a secondary payload, reported U.S. science magazine IEEE Spectrum.

“The goal is to verify and demonstrate multiple functions such as spacecraft orbital maneuver, simulated small celestial body capture, intelligent spacecraft identification and control,” Yu Tianhong, co-founder of Origin Space, told the magazine.

After the tests are completed, Origin Space will proceed with the Yuanwang-1 mission sometime in 2021.

The mining robot will be equipped with an “optical telescope designed to observe and monitor Near-Earth Asteroids.” The goal would be to identify targets for possible off-Earth extraction.

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