A Porsche in Space and a Very Expensive Asteroid

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There’s already a Tesla in space. Will we see a Porsche next?

Porsche SE, the family holding company that controls the Automotive giant Volkswagen Group, has just made an investment in Germany’s Isar Aerospace, a space startup centered around rocket production and satellite launch services. The $75 million injection, as part of larger funding round, was made alongside HV Capital and Swiss bank Lombard Odier where Porsche SE will receive “a low single-digit percentage stake.”

While Blue Origin and SpaceX battle largely for headlines with manned space missions, this venture focuses on a different front in the space economy – the commercial demand for launching small satellites. As companies continue to rely more heavily on satellite technology applications and solutions, the market for launching small satellites into Earth’s orbit will continue to grow. On June 30th, SpaceX carried 88 satellites in a single rocket launch payload in service of a variety of customers. The same day, Virgin Orbit (a Virgin Galactic Spinoff) launched satellites for The Royal Netherlands Air Force and Polish startup SatRevolution.

Isar Aerospace claims to be the fastest-growing private launch service company in the European Union and hopes to launch its first test flight next year.

Although this seems like a fairly small investment for Porsche SE, it’s the latest example of billionaires jumping into the commercial space race. And, yet another luxury automobile company that wants its hand in vehicles that go a little further than our atmosphere.

An Expensive Asteroid?

And speaking of luxury in space, how about an asteroid worth more than $10,000 quadrillion?

The Psyche 16 asteroid is a 124-mile-wide space rock in our solar system thought to be made up of iron and nickel that orbits our sun in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter some 140 million miles away from earth. Psyche is the largest of the ‘M-Type asteroids,’ a mysterious metal-rich class of asteroids. It was discovered in 1852 and is believed to be the remnants of a protoplanet destroyed by collisions in the early forming of our solar system.

A Porsche in Space and a Very Expensive Asteroid
Katherine de Kleer

“The early solar system was a violent place, as planetary bodies coalesced and then collided with one another while settling into orbits around the sun,” said Caltech’s Katherine de Kleer, assistant professor of planetary science and astronomy. “We think that fragments of the cores, mantles, and crusts of these objects remain today in the form of asteroids. If that’s true, it gives us our only real opportunity to directly study the cores of planet-like objects.”

NASA is planning a Psyche mission to find out if Psyche is indeed the core of a protoplanet… or just a really valuable metal asteroid.

NASA’s Psyche mission aims to study this “goldmine” of an asteroid, aiming to arrive early 2026 to spend 21 months in orbit studying psyche’s makeup with a variety of instruments.

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