Business

AstroForge Provides an Update on its Brokkr-1 Demo Mission 

Image: AstroForge

Asteroid mining startup AstroForge provided a detailed update on its Brokkr-1 satellite demo mission in a blog post yesterday, revealing several hiccups it encountered and a three-month blitz to complete its refinery mission. 

The company launched its Brokkr-1 satellite demo mission on April 15 to test the engineering, subsystems, and metal extraction process. Immediately after deployment from SpaceX’s Transporter-7, the company began to run into issues, beginning with identifying its satellite among the other 50+ satellites. The company solicited help from other space companies and eventually secured a signal after 20 days. 

The company then had trouble deploying its solar array panels, due to a magnetic field in the refinery system impacting orientation. 

  • Astroforge said it discovered the magnetic field issue prior to launch but chose to forge ahead with the mission to avoid extensive delays and forfeiting the launch cost. 
  • The spacecraft eventually passively stabilized in a wobble, and on Sept. 2 the panels were finally deployed. 

Not out of the woods: The company says the wobble will stabilize into an orientation that would eventually cut communication for good. Astroforge is now in “a race against time” to complete the refinery checkouts and demonstrate the tech before they lose contact completely, which the company estimates could be three more months. 

Lessons learned: The trials and tribulations of its first demo mission will provide invaluable insight for its upcoming mission, a year-long endeavor to fly by and capture images of an undisclosed asteroid. The mission is scheduled for launch aboard a Falcon 9, sharing a ride with Intuitive Machines’ second lunar landing mission.

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