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Deep Space Industries for Asteroid Mining

The company Deep Space Industries Inc. announced a plan to build the world's first fleet of asteroid prospecting vehicles. The goal is asteroid resources exploration and mining, for space industrialization and colonization, selling products and services to businesses and consumers in space and on Earth.

The plan is in stages:

  1. Build and launch tiny "Firefly" probes to rendezvous with asteroids near Earth to analyze their compositions, starting in 2015. These probes will be small at around 25 kg, and launched cheaply as secondary payloads hitching a ride on rockets putting much larger satellites into space, following the CubeSat standard for piggyback cargo.

  2. Build and launch somewhat larger "Dragonfly" probes to return samples from asteroids near Earth, starting in 2016. The return samples would be in the tens of kilograms and arrive a few years later.

  3. Send spacecraft out to chosen asteroids near Earth to start manufacturing things from them. The company announced a 3D printing process they are developing for making a variety of parts from asteroidal free metal. They mentioned selling fuel propellants to be used for commercial communications satellite stationkeeping, supplying government projects, solar power satellites, and various other products and services which would be sold from asteroid mining.

The leaders of this asteroid mining effort are Rick Tumlinson and David Gump. Tumlinson has been a leading space development advocate for a few decades with involvement in SSI, the Space Frontier Foundation, FINDS, the attempted commercialization of Mir, space tourism, the X Prize, and a commercial space suit company named Orbital Outfitters as founder. Tumlinson for decades has aimed for lunar and asteroidal resources utilization for space colonization and industrialization. Gump is well known for previous lunar robotic mission projects, as covered elsewhere on this website, the Astrobotics lunar polar probe which is still ongoing, and the defunct LunaCorp Moon Rover Nomad.

Geoff Notkin, who is famous for his international TV series Meteorite Men, joined the Deep Space Industries Inc. team in January 2013, and was the moderator of their initial press conference on January 22 (a quick tall order). It seems that Notkin might handle a considerable amount of the public relations for the company. (Notkin is quite a diversely talented character, and among so many other things, a supporter of Sea Shepherd.)

Some highly experienced NASA contractors also joined the team, and the company has international participants.

A press conference announcement was delivered on January 22, 2013, in Santa Monica, California, where they introduced their plans, showed videos of the spacecraft concept, discussed a new space 3D printing manufacturing process, and reviewed the company's plans for mining asteroids for commercial applications. A main purpose of the press conference seemed to be to reach out to potential corporate sponsors and investors. They apparently have some corporate sponsorship already.

Tumlinson and Gump have been leading advocates of low cost space development by the private sector since the 1980s.

This new company has a website at

Some people have viewed Space Industries Inc. as a competitor to Planetary Resources, Inc., but actually the two should turn out to be synergistic companies which can work for each other in the new space economy's ecosystem. Peter Diamandis, the prime mover for Planetary Resources, Inc., promoted the concept of creating a new economic sector in space, and is a longtime friend of Tumlinson and Gump. All of these people have an early history in the Dr. Gerard K. O'Neill / Space Studies Institute community which advocated space colonization and industrialization by lunar and asteroid mining. > Missions, Plans, Concepts > Leading Private Sector Projects > Deep Space Industries


PERMANENT needs a PHP / MySQL (actually, MariaDB) programmer. Are you a PHP / MySQL programmer interested in getting into space development as a career, or already working in space development? Or do you know somebody else who might be interested?

There is an ongoing process to update this website in 2019 with a target relaunch in 2020.
This website is actually very out of date. Much of the website text content was written in the 1980s to early 2000s, but that's a different matter. As regards PHP / MySQL, some offline databases go into the 2010s, as regards professional publications, engineers, companies, etc., and this is what we need programming help with. We are updating our databases on people, organizations, publications, and other things, for open source space development for all.

The current status is we have some working databases which we have been using internally for a long time for organizing professional publications, and to track people (authors, R&D people, other professionals, quality volunteers, journalists, etc.) and organizations. We want to put information online for the general public pending a security review of the programming code.

Step 1 is fixing some bugs in what we already have, the PHP code. It is functional, and been used a long time, but there are some bugs.
Step 2 will be improving the system. Some small improvements would help its usability.
Step 3 will be a security check for putting it online for the general public to be able to access and use, but with reasonable protection against hackers.
After Step 3, the main mission is accomplished, as regards PHP / MySQL, though of course we hope to keep people engaged and happy, and the sky's not the limit.

This is a volunteer, unpaid role at this point in time. A limited paid role would be considered on a tight budget, such as for at least bug fixing with some minor improvements, and/or a security review of our code before it goes online publicly. If you or one of your friends or associates may be interested, please send an email to spaceprogrammer at ... of course this domain.

Reasons to do something yourself:

  • It will help save life on our special planet -- be part of the solution in your generation.
  • It will create and secure a better future for your children and grandchildren.
  • It could be an interesting, cool, and a fun adventure for your life!

You can join us and volunteer to help out,

... or ...

If you're short on time, you can just donate:

The Permanent Space Development Foundation, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
If you would like to make a quick donation to our humanistic cause,
then please click on one of the buttons below (which go to PayPal).

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Except where specifically stated otherwise,
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