archive: SETI FW: [ASTRO] SpaceDev Selects Asteroid 'Nereus' For First Mission

SETI FW: [ASTRO] SpaceDev Selects Asteroid 'Nereus' For First Mission

Larry Klaes ( )
Wed, 26 Aug 1998 10:09:00 -0400

From: Ron Baalke
Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 1998 5:21 PM
Subject: [ASTRO] SpaceDev Selects Asteroid 'Nereus' For First Mission

Forwarded from Jim Benson (Jim@SpaceDev.Com)

SpaceDev Selects Asteroid `Nereus' for First Mission

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 25 -- SpaceDev (OTC Bulletin Board: SPDV -
news), the world's first commercial space exploration and development
company, announced that it has selected the near Earth asteroid ``Nereus''
for its first mission. The destination was chosen as a result of a study
conducted for SpaceDev by Tony Spear, Mars Pathfinder project manager.

``Nereus appears to present several better and important science
opportunities including the potential of finding water and carbon
compounds on the asteroid, and the unique chance to compare on-site
measurements with ground-based measurements from Nereus' close approach to
Earth,'' said Jim Benson, SpaceDev, president and chief executive officer.
``We believe the Nereus mission offers the science community the widest
possible variety of science compared to other potential targets, and it
could maximize our chances of attracting paying customers.''

Nereus, an Apollo-type near Earth asteroid (NEA), will pass within about
2.5 million miles of Earth in January of 2002, which is close enough for
ground-based radar installations and telescopes to gather detailed
information prior to NEAP's planned arrival about four months later. The
company commissioned Mr. Spear's study because management believed that
Nereus could be a more desirable destination than the original launch
target. Mr. Spear's study has appeared to confirm the advantages of

``Tony Spear, who led the recent NEAP feasibility study from June 15
through July 15, believes that Nereus is the quintessential near-Earth
asteroid mission,'' said Benson. Mr. Spear was the Mars Pathfinder Project
Manager, and recently retired from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
after thirty years of successful deep-space science missions.

``Additionally, Mr. Spear highlighted the following attributes of Nereus
that could make it such an appealing project: it is a C-type asteroid
about 1 km in diameter with a well-known orbit between Mars and Earth.
Nereus is also scientifically interesting because it is carbonaceous, it
may have a high water content, and it may consist of many other types of
useful elements and volatiles,'' said Benson.

Benson noted that scientists who lobbied SpaceDev to change targets to
Nereus believe a project to Nereus could help shed light on the early
formation and composition of the solar system. ``Furthermore, it could be
very interesting as a possible astrobiology research site since it may
possess most of the basic ingredients necessary for life, including a
reasonable temperature below its surface.''

To reach Nereus, NEAP launch is planned for April 3, 2001 and will remain
in the Earth-moon system until January 12, 2002, when it should escape
Earth's gravity to encounter Nereus on about May 12, 2002. NEAP should
complete its primary mission by mid-June, 2002 if all proceeds according
to the current plan.

Originally, SpaceDev planned to launch NEAP by the middle to end of 2000,
but Benson noted that the new target is much more attractive
scientifically and its schedule is more accommodating to potential
payloads. It could now be possible to add lunar or Earth experiments to
the spacecraft therefore increasing potential additional revenue, possibly
including the search for water on the moon, prior to leaving the
Earth-moon system for Nereus.

``Due to Nereus' orbit and position compared to Earth, it is relatively
easy to reach given the capabilities of our planned propulsion system.
This, in turn, simplified many of the spacecraft support systems while
lowering costs, which were important factors in selecting this asteroid,''
said Benson.

SpaceDev, the world's first commercial space exploration and development
company, intends to launch the first privately financed spacecraft to land
on another planetary body. SpaceDev is selling rides for scientific
instruments to governments and companies to transport their instruments

and experiments through deep space to a near Earth asteroid. SpaceDev
intends to sell the data acquired by its instruments as commercial
products. Colorado-based SpaceDev has offices in San Diego, CA and
Washington, DC.

The foregoing press release includes numerous forward-looking statements
concerning the company's business and future prospects and other similar
statements that do not concern matters of historical fact. The federal
securities laws provide a limited ``safe harbor'' for certain
forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this press
release relating to product development, business prospects and
development of a commercial market for technological advances are based on
the company's current expectations. The company's current expectations are
subject to all of the uncertainties and risks customarily associated with
new business ventures including, but not limited to, market conditions,
successful product development and acceptance, competition and overall
economic conditions, as well as the risk of adverse regulatory actions.
The company's actual results may differ materially from current
expectations. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on
forward-looking statements. The company disclaims any intent or obligation
to update publicly these forward-looking statements, whether as a result
of new information, future events or for any other reason.

Note: News releases and other information on SpaceDev can be accessed at or on the Internet.

Tuesday August 25, 7:00 am Eastern Time

Company Press Release

SOURCE: SpaceDev, Inc.