Doug Jones, former chief test engineer at rocket engine manufacturer XCOR Aerospace, has joined asteroid mining company Deep Space Industries as director of propulsion systems.
DSI said Tuesday Jones, who has years of experience in aerospace engineering, will lead efforts to develop new propulsion technology for small spacecraft that will support deep space exploration.
“[He] 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, chief technology officer of DSI.
The company is working with the government and national banking institution of Luxembourg to conduct research on potential space resource commercialization and develop the Prospector spacecraft to perform future in-space mining operations.
The precursor experimental Prospector-X mission will launch within the year to low Earth orbit for technology demonstration in preparation for the planned Prospector-1 interplanetary mining mission to deep space by the end of this decade.
Motherboard obtained documents earlier this year indicating the current administration’s interest in the commercialization of space resources and NASA‘s efforts to collect material samples from the moon’s southern pole for research purposes.