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Comprehensive & Concise: David Gump "Deep Space Industries Sets Sights On Asteroids"
“…basically helping everyone to live off the land in space rather than hauling everything we need to up from the ground…therefore our first markets are in space markets. Asteroids contain a good deal of volatiles – water, methane, hydrocarbons – and there’s a big demand for hydrocarbons, propellants, in space. Communication satellites up in GEO orbit – it costs them ten thousand dollars a pound to bring up the propellant they need for station keeping. When that runs out they are no longer worth anything to the owners. With propellant that can be provided cheaply by our services – each extra month they can squeeze out of those satellites is five to eight million dollars per satellite. So that’s one of the first markets we intend to serve.
And as we serve a commercial growing market for propellant that’s a great benefit to NASA and their exploration programs. NASA when its planning Mars missions, ninety percent of what it has to launch from the ground is propellant – if they can just launch the hardware and tank up in orbit, they can do Mars missions sooner, and they can repeat Mars missions so they’re not just flags and footprints once and we stop going.
We can start getting our energy from space, its clean, no pollution, no carbon build up…I’m sure everyone in Beijing would love to get their power from solar powered satellites instead of a ring of coal fired plants around a city. So that is in the longer-view: the market to bring clean abundant electricity to Earth. And so that is a trillion dollar a year enterprise to serve electrical power on Earth.
…as we move into the larger things that actually bring back a hundred to two hundred tons of material, the market activity that will pay for that kind of thing is going to be communications satellites. I think that is the early market for asteroid material. Once you get cranking on producing propellant you can then look to doing other things: creating photovoltaic cells to increase power available in space – then, in the fullness of time, after you’re already processing the satellite for other things you’ll be able to get platinum and gold and silver in sufficient quantities to merit export back down to Earth. But our analysis is you really can’t just start up to mine asteroids for platinum group metals – the economics just do not add up.
Turning that rock into something you want to buy.”