Misc: Luxembourg and space mining + Relativity Space: Raw materials into a rocket in flight in 60 days

NewSpace Watch
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Launch
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April 17, 2018

An overview of Luxembourg’s involvement in space mining: Luxembourg vies to become the Silicon Valley of asteroid mining – CNBC

Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources are already working closely with Luxembourg’s government. Stibrany said the government contributed an undisclosed amount of R&D funding to Deep Space Industries. And in November 2016, Planetary Resources and Luxembourg struck a deal: $28 million in investment from the Grand Duchy in exchange for an undisclosed equity stake in the company. Planetary Resources doesn’t disclose its total funding, but CEO Chris Lewicki said Luxembourg was “one of the largest investors” in the company’s Series A round.

“They believe it is a foundational business that will grow,” said Lewicki, a NASA veteran who was flight director for two Mars rover missions.

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If you happen to be in Luxembourg on April 25th, you can drop in at the Space Café Luxembourg and hear two talks on The NewSpace Race:

  • Gary Martin, Senior Advisor, Ministry of the Economy, Former NASA Director of Partnerships: How Governments Enable NewSpace Companies

  • Andy Bowyer – Co-Founder & Director, Kleos Space: From OldSpace to NewSpace

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Can’t read this about Relativity Space‘s big 3D printing systems and not think that a fundamental transformation is underway in the manufacturing of things: Q&A: 3-D Printing Rockets with Relativity Space CEO Tim Ellis – Scientific American

We’re getting to the point where we can make a rocket structure—all the parts for a nearly 100-foot-tall, 7-foot-wide rocket—from scratch in 30 days. Once the parts are printed, the target is to assemble, test, integrate and fly the rocket within another 30 days. So we are en route to making an entire rocket from raw material to flight within 60 days. We’re using Stargate to make our own launch vehicle, Terran 1, as well as a rocket engine called Aeon 1. Those will be the basis of our launch service, which will initially carry satellites as heavy as 1,250 kilograms to low Earth orbit. We are planning to announce our launch site by the end of the year, and we expect our first full-scale, full-performance test flight to occur in late 2020, with commercial service beginning in early 2021.

The company claims to have some major commitments already:

So we’re going after two services—the ability to resupply constellations with new, midsize satellites as old ones fail, and the ability to deploy entire orbital planes full of smaller, 50- to 100-kilogram satellites in a single launch. We can do both very cost-effectively, and in fact already have more than a billion dollars in commitments to orders from a mix of commercial entities as well as governments. We can’t talk too much yet about those due to nondisclosure agreements, because the constellation market is so competitive. But we’ll be announcing our partners as things move forward.

After making such systems work here, they can work in space as well:

Everything we’re doing with automating and building rockets and engines in our factory on Earth, we view as stepping-stones toward figuring out how to do this on Mars. Eventually, we’ll want to make rockets there to fly things back. Part of a society on Mars becoming self-sustaining will be the production and export of goods. When that happens, it will be a pivotal turning point in human history. And before then, of course, you could make other industrial products to help build up this whole society on another planet. Pursuing this has the nice side benefit of also creating a really kick-ass business on Earth.

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