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Near Earth Asteroid Prospector

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1 Author(s)
Benson, J.W. ; SpaceDev, Steamboat Springs, CO, USA

Space resource utilization requires many preliminary steps before those resources and their products can be used on an economically sound basis. Two important ingredients are low cost exploratory spacecraft and missions, and low cost launches. This paper focuses more on driving down mission and spacecraft costs by flying inexpensive commercial deep space exploration missions. SpaceDev is a corporation engaged in the commercialization of space exploration utilizing existing proven low-cost technologies. It has developed a mission plan and spacecraft design, and intends to construct and test an inexpensive unmanned spacecraft, Near Earth Asteroid Prospector or NEAP, fly NEAP to a targeted near Earth asteroid residing beyond the Earth's orbit, successfully land one or more scientific instruments on the asteroid, communicate the scientific data to Earth, and sell the data for a profit. If successful, this commercial mission may open up deep space to greater exploration

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 1998 IEEE  (Volume:5 )

Date of Conference:

21-28 Mar 1998