Last of XCOR’s Founders Leaves Company

Doug Jones

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) — Deep Space Industries is pleased to announce that Doug Jones, formerly chief test engineer at XCOR, is joining the company’s growing team as director of propulsion systems.

“We see Doug as one of the top rocket engineers in the country, and a great addition to our first-class team of small-spacecraft engineers,” said Bill Miller, the chief executive officer of Deep Space Industries.  “He will be helping us develop the high performance, inexpensive propulsion that is critical to radically lowering the cost of deep space exploration.”

Mr. Jones has designed, built and tested over a dozen different rocket designs for a wide range of customers, including two manned vehicles. Doug has decades of aerospace engineering experience ranging from liquid rocket engine design to vehicle system optimization, and has flown aboard a rocket aircraft multiple times while serving as flight test engineer during the development of the XCOR X-Racer.

“Doug Jones is joining DSI at the perfect moment to lead our in-house development of the high-performance propulsion system for our Prospector series of deep space missions,” said Grant Bonin, DSI’s chief technology officer. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

Editor’s Note: And then there were none. Jeff Greason, Dan DeLong and Aleta Jackson preceded Jones out the door. There are no more founders at XCOR.

DSI Delivers Space Dirt to NASA

Containers of asteroid simulant are stacked up and ready for delivery to NASA. (Credit: Deep Space Industries)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Deep Space Industries recently delivered 3.5 gallons of dirt to NASA. But this wasn’t ordinary dirt; it was developed to simulate the material found on an asteroid or moon.

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Questions Raised Over Brian Cox Documentary on Virgin Galactic & Commercial Space

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By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Back in February, Professor Brian Cox traveled here to Mojave with his friends Richard and Sam Branson to watch the third glide flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity.

Bowled over by what he saw even before the suborbital tourism vehicle glided overhead, Cox gave what amounted to a rousing endorsement of Virgin Galactic and SpaceShipTwo to a gathering of company employees.

“People ask me a lot because I’m a space geek and I’m obviously an evangelist for space, ‘Would you fly to space?” Cox said with Richard Branson seated beside him. “And I’ve always said, ‘Well yes and no, because in some sense it’s a dangerous thing to do.’ However, the moment I walked in this hangar and saw that aircraft, I thought, I want to get on that aircraft. So the answer is now is 100 percent yes.”

What was not widely known at the time was that Cox was filming a BBC-commissioned documentary about commercial space. And the company the corporation commissioned to co-produce it, Sundog Pictures, is owned and run by none other than Cox’s good friend, Sam Branson.

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Smallsat 2016: A Closer Look at DSI’s Prospector-1 Mission

Prospector-1 mission (Credit: DSI)
Prospector-1 mission (Credit: DSI)

Deep Space Industries’ Grant Bonin provided more details this week about the company’s Prospector-1 asteroid mission at the Small Satellite Conference in Utah.  Below is a summary based on the tweets of Jeff Foust ‏(@jeff_foust) and David Hurst ‏(@OrbitalDave).

Enjoy!

Grant Bonin
Deep Space Industries

  • Prospector-1 will be the first commercial spacecraft sent to an asteroid
  • Prospector-1 is a 50-kg spacecraft whose main objective is to look for extractable water
  • Water will be key to the cis-lunar economy
  • Company examining 6 “very attractive” asteroids to explore
  • There’s a lot we still don’t know about asteroids – two asteroids that appear similar can be very different
  • Prospector-1 will attempt to soft land on asteroid at the end of its surveying mission to study regolith
  • Landing will also validate policy regime for commercial asteroid resources
  • Prospector-1 has midwave and visible infrared imaging for imaging asteroid and neutron spectrometer to study subsurface hydrogen
  • Spacecraft will launch as a secondary payload, use its own chemical rocket stage to leave Earth orbit for the asteroid
  • DSI will use super heated water for spacecraft propulsion

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DSI, UTIAS Demonstrate Autonomous Spacecraft Maneuvering

CanX-4 and CanX-5 are a pair of identical nanosatellites built by the Space Flight Laboratory, and launched in June 2014. (Credit: UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory)
CanX-4 and CanX-5 are a pair of identical nanosatellites built by the Space Flight Laboratory, and launched in June 2014. (Credit: UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) — The world’s first demonstration of autonomous spacecraft maneuvering was recently completed by Silicon Valley-based Deep Space Industries (DSI) and the Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) of Toronto, Canada. Using their highly-successful CanX-4 and CanX-5 pair of nanosatellites, SFL operators executed a DSI-defined experiment on-orbit, in which the world’s first spacecraft-to-spacecraft orbit maneuver was commanded by one satellite and executed by the other.

In this experiment, one of the two spacecraft (CanX-4) autonomously programmed the other (CanX-5) to perform an orbit change using its on-board propulsion system, over a shared S-band Inter-Satellite Link (ISL) radio. CanX-5 subsequently executed the maneuver, raising its orbit, as confirmed by operators at SFL’s Mission Control Center (MCC) in Toronto and data from the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

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DSI Forms Strategic Partnership With Solid Prototype, Inc.

 Deep Space Industries is planning a series of reconnaissance spacecraft which will be sent in search of mineral-rich asteroids.  (Credit:  Bryan Versteeg, Deep Space Industries)
Deep Space Industries is planning a series of reconnaissance spacecraft which will be sent in search of mineral-rich asteroids. (Credit: Bryan Versteeg, Deep Space Industries)

Houston, TXDecember 1, 2014.  Deep Space Industries and Solid Prototype Inc. today announced a strategic partnership to revolutionize spacecraft design and production through Solid Prototype’s 3D printing services, targeted at reducing fabrication costs, speeding turnaround times for new designs, and eliminating mass from spacecraft structures.

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