Astroforge Raises $13M To Mine Asteroids

Astroforge Raises $13M To Mine Asteroids

Y Combinator startup Astroforge wants to use its new $13 million seed round to mine asteroids.

The Huntington Beach-based company aims to become the first company to bring asteroid resources back to Earth, TechCrunch reported Thursday. Initialized Capital led the funding round and was joined by investors Seven Seven Six, EarthRise, Aera VC, Liquid 2 and Soma.

“When you look at the opportunity here—and the opportunity really is to mine the universe—this is such a huge opportunity that investors are willing to make the bet on a longer time horizon,” Astroforge co-founder Matt Gialich told TechCrunch.

Virgin Orbit veteran Gialich launched the company alongside his co-founder, SpaceX and NASA alum Jose Acain, in January; the four-person firm, which Gialich said is now hiring for seven more positions, hopes to successfully mine an asteroid by the end of the decade. The seed money will fund Astroforge’s first two missions, with its first being a demo flight scheduled for a SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare launch next year.

While Astroforge is keeping the specifics of its technology close to the vest, the company told TechCrunch that it involves a “high-rated vacuum” and requires a zero-gravity environment, but won’t involve actually landing on the asteroid itself. The company is eyeing asteroids ranging from 20 meters to 1.5 kilometers in diameter that carry high concentrations of platinum-group metals, which limits its potential targets to less than 1 million of the 10 million asteroids near Earth.

Astroforge wouldn’t be the first to attempt this science fiction-esque endeavor, though commercial space mining has faced financial and logistical obstacles that no company has yet overcome. NASA, for its part, is counting on the private sector to realize the U.S.’s space mining ambitions, then-deputy administrator Jim Morhard told dot.LA in 2020.

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