California-based startup AstroForge, created in January 2022, announced on May 26, 2022 that it intends to become the first-ever viable asteroid mining corporation.

AstroForge has generated US $13 million in seed funding in its first few months of operation, created and lab-tested new technology for processing asteroid material, and secured a ride on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to put that technology to the test in space.


What the investor have to say:

Brett Gibson, general partner at Initialized Capital:

“Aside from the great value of minerals on known asteroids within our grasp, AstroForge simultaneously provides a climate solution for Earth and enhances our ability to conduct additional deep-space exploration.

“We can shift away from unsafe mining practices on Earth and receive the stuff we need to develop our scientific abilities if we can access endless resources from space. It’s an understatement to suggest that this is a game-changer.”

About the company and the market:


According to Gialich and fellow cofounder Jose Acain, who also acts as the company’s chief technical officer, AstroForge has created patented material-refining technology that it will utilize to extract PGMs from space rocks.

That technology has been tested in the lab, and if all goes according to plan, it will soon be able to show off its prowess on Earth: AstroForge has secured a slot on a Falcon 9 “rideshare” mission that could take off as soon as January 2023.

Among the payloads on that mission is an AstroForge 6U CubeSat, which will extract platinum from a sample it transports to orbit. (The “U” in CubeSat dimensions stands for “unit,” which is a cube with a side length of 4 inches (10 cm).

The space industry has changed dramatically in the last decade, with new small-satellite launch providers entering the market and established companies like SpaceX opening their massive rockets to small payloads. As a result, getting new technology to space is much cheaper, making it economically feasible to take the kinds of risks. AstroForge intends to take, according to Gialich and Acain, who cite this as another key difference between their planned efforts and those of previous asteroid-mining hopefuls.

Gialich and Acain aren’t strangers to space. Acain formerly worked as a deputy chief engineer at SpaceX, and Gialich previously headed guidance, navigation, and control and flight software at Virgin Orbit.

AstroForge, on the other hand, is adopting a different approach. Given that there is now no open market for in-space propellant storage, the business does not consider asteroid water as a particularly appealing first target. Furthermore, when SpaceX’s massive Starship rocket launches, it will be able to lift huge volumes of water into orbit at a low cost, lessening the demand for water collected in space, according to Gialich.

As a result, AstroForge will focus on an asteroid resource that is now in high demand on Earth: platinum-group metals (PGMs). PGMs are widely employed in various industries; for example, palladium is a vital component in catalytic converters, which help reduce hazardous emissions from cars and trucks.

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Kshitij does business research and content writing for VCBay. Pursuing BBA from Symbiosis Center Of Management Studies (SCMS) Pune, he is skilled in Financial Modeling, Stock valuation and Microsoft Excel. He is passionate about Entrepreneurship and Finance.


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