Asteroid Mining: Deep Space Industries Builds Rockets That Could Use Asteroid Water As Fuel In Space

First Posted: Oct 17, 2016 05:19 AM EDT

The Deep Space Industries is developing rockets that could use asteroid water as a source of rocket fuel. It will launch a small probe known as Prospector 1 into space that has attached water rocket next year.

Grant Bonin, chief engineer of DSI told the Daily Caller News Foundation that their rockets basically take water, bring it up to a very high temperature, then expel it to produce thrust. He compares it to a flying steam kettle. He further said that this is fundamentally a much simpler and more robust system than other proposals to use water as rocket fuel, which needed hydrogen and oxygen generated to be refrigerated to be stored.

Bonin further explained that they intended to extract water from asteroids for use as propellant. They will send probes to asteroids and use the water mined from them to get back. They also intended to return to earth with a large quantity of water and carbon dioxide for sale in the longer term. He also said that with these you can generate a lot of chemical combinations.

It is known that water is common on asteroids in the solar system. This creates potential uses for space companies just like the DSI. Bonin said that asteroid water cab be split into oxygen and used as radiation shielding and now used to fuel rockets. He further said that water is what will fuel their expansion into space.

Deep Space Industries (DSI) is an American private company that works in the space technology and resourcing. It is building spacecraft technologies that are required for asteroid mining. They are also selling satellites that utilize these technologies. DSI is also developing in-space materials taken from asteroids just like the asteroid water as rocket fuel. Some of these materials such as space-based power, refueling, manufacturing and asteroid processing will be commercially available in the early 2020s.

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

©2017 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science news.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics