AstroForge, a startup with plans to mine asteroids, is getting ready to launch the first of its two missions on Friday, of which the main objective is to test the firm’s technique for refining platinum from a sample of asteroid-like material.
The startup has placed a payload on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, pre-packed with elements similar to those found in asteroids. Working in Earth’s orbit, the OrbAstro-built cubesat will attempt to vaporize and sort the materials into their elemental components.
AstroForge says its vehicle Brokkr-1 aims to demonstrate the company’s refining capabilities in the vacuum of space and zero gravity. The second mission, scheduled for October this year, will focus on scouting an already identified asteroid that is close enough to Earth to potentially be mined.
The rideshare mission, chartered by Intuitive Machines, will attempt to send the second spacecraft —Brokkr-2 — to the (so far undisclosed) asteroid located 35.4 million km (22 million miles) from Earth for a future retrieval mission.
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