In November 2020, the Chinese company Origin Space will launch a test version of a robotic vehicle into space for industrial development of asteroids.
A small device NEO-1 (weighing about 30 kg) will be launched on a Chinese rocket of the Long March series. Moving 500 km away from the Earth, it will enter a sun-synchronous orbit.
The first variant of the spacecraft is intended solely for testing technologies and will not be involved in the extraction of minerals. Its main purpose will be to test orbital maneuvers, smart identification and control systems, and simulate the capture of small celestial bodies..
In parallel, Origin Space is developing the NEO-2 apparatus designed to extract lunar regolith, which it plans to send to the satellite in early 2022. Since there is not enough demand on Earth to organize the supply of residual soil (taking into account the price), then most likely the company plans to sell it to the China National Space Administration, which plans to build a scientific base on the moon. and send staff there to conduct experiments.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Getty Images