The private company Origin Space from Beijing has announced the launch of the country’s first spacecraft to extract useful resources outside the Earth. It is called NEO-1 and will be launched into space this November. This is not a mining machine, but for now only a scout, but the next machine, most likely, will already have a mining specialization and will start working in a couple of years.
NEO-1 is a small spacecraft weighing only 30 kg, which will be placed in a sun-synchronous orbit. Its target is asteroids as such, with the help of this satellite, Chinese space miners want to work out all aspects of hunting for small space bodies. At the current stage, you need to learn how to detect asteroids, choose suitable ones, prepare maneuvers for docking, manage groups of interceptor ships, etc.
Developers from Origin Space should hurry up, as their direct competitor, the Yuanwang-1 orbital telescope, will go into space next year. This device has been nicknamed “Little Hubble”, as it will peer into space in search of asteroids – both posing a threat to the Earth and potential sources of valuable resources.
The next device for these purposes will be NEO-2 from the same Origin Space. This is already a lunar project, which is still in development. The details of the program are still unknown, except that a landing on the moon itself is planned. Perhaps it will also be a reconnaissance ship, but the desire of the Chinese to immediately start mining regolith, searching for water or other resources on the Moon cannot be ruled out. Origin Space said it would start raising funds for this project at the end of the year – probably by then, details will appear. mission.