FYI:NEAP Status 05/03/97 (fwd)

Eugene Leitl (
Sun, 4 May 1997 12:01:47 +0200 (MET DST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 3 May 1997 18:14:00 -0600
From: Jim@SpaceDev.Com
To: Space Investors Mailing List <>
Subject: NEAP Status 05/03/97


The Near Earth Asteroid Prospector venture is coming along nicely.

I have created this distribution list of over one hundred people who
have expressed an interest in being kept informed about progress, or
people who I think are interested.

I intend to mail to this list only occasionally, so being on this list
will not be a burden to you. If you wish to be removed, please just
email me, and I will be happy to comply. If you receive two copies, it
is because you are also on the space-investor list -- let me know and
I will remove the duplicate.

NEAP summary:

NEAP will be the first private spacecraft to leave earth orbit, the
first private spacecraft to visit another planetary body, and the
first private spacecraft to land on another planetary body. NEAP will
carry sufficient instrumentation to size and categorize the asteroid,
thereby allowing us to calculate a "street value" for it. After
landing, we will "stake" any mining and patent claims we believe to be
possible, and then will simply declare ownership of the trillion
dollar asset. This will help draw attention to the need to establish
private property rights in space. Nine sources of income from NEAP
have been identified, two of which could each pay for the entire
venture. The entire venture will be privately financed, with no
government grant money of any kind (necessary to ensure a pure private
claim of the asteroid and its resources).

STATUS report:

At this time, there are three university groups working on various
aspects of NEAP design. The universities involved are UCSD, NM State,
and U TX at Austin. Many of the approximately thirty students are
mentored with senior scientists and engineers, and have been working
on their assignments since early this year. The effort is headed by
Dr. Jim Arnold, founder of the UCSD campus, and Director of the eight
campus California Space Institute, and a NEAP advisor.

I will be at UCSD / CalSpace all day on May 4 and 5 to receive study
results on the following areas: mission design options, spacecraft
design options, communications options and trajectory calculations for
all potential near earth object targets. After the two day meeting,
the three groups will continue to refine their analyses, in accordance
with my technical feedback.

I have spoken with Lockheed-Martin and MacDonnell Douglas about
launch plans. One promising possibility is LM, which may be able to
offer us a primary payload slot, with a low earth satellite as a
secondary payload, thereby cutting our launch cost in half. LM is also
interested in a creative proposal from me on how to finance the launch
-- talks are ongoing. We have discussed joint venture types of deals
with two startup launch vendors, and have as an advisor, the former
head of the Russian space program, which resulted in a very
attractively priced offer. Planned launch date is 2000 or 2001.

Overall venture cost estimates have declined from over $80 million to
less than $40 million. It is expected that the cost will continue to
decline, but less rapidly.

I will be in Princeton at the Space Studies Institute conference May 8
through 11. The conference is chaired by one of our advisors, Dr. John
Lewis. I spent a half day with John at his home about a week ago, just
before I attended Henry Vanderbilt's excellent Space Access conference
in Scottsdale. John will introduce me to the SSI conference attendees,
and I will spend most of the conference identifying good people.

I will then go on to Washington, DC where I have some very "high
level" meetings concerning NEAP. After two days of meetings, I will
return to my home in Colorado to incorporate the CalSpace study
results into the NEAP business plan. I will spend two days with my
corporate finance attorney on May 19 and 20, in preparation of formal
capital formation, which I intend to start during June.

I will give two talks at the International Space Development
Conference (NSS/ISDC) in Orlando, May 22 to 26. The topics will be on
the economics of space resource development and on space exploration.
The talks will be Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25.

On June 9 I will address the annual Astronautics States Association in
Washington, DC and will use that opportunity to introduce NEAP to
them. The ASA could be helpful in getting me in touch with local and
regional space business roundtables, political contributors (possible
sources of capital), and other potentially valuable contacts.

On June 10, I will address the 190th annual meeting of the American
Astronomical Society in Winston-Salem. I will use that opportunity to
introduce the "Benson Prize for the Amateur Discovery of Near Earth
Asteroids." This is a cash prize of $500 for each of the next ten
amateur discoveries. Sky & Telescope magazine will assist in spreading
the word about the Benson Prize through a magazine article, and a
Benson Prize page at their web site. It is intended that this Prize
will increase the name recognition of Space Development LLC, myself
and NEAP. In addition, it should stimulate the discovery of more
potential NEAP targets.

The SpaceDev advisory board has grown to include a "Who's Who" list of
eighteen scientists and engineers.


I believe that most aspects of NEAP are coming along very well. Two
ares where I can use some help:

1) contacts in mining, big construction, natural resources and energy
companies -- these will be very important for a variety of reasons
including funding, joint venture possibilities, political support for
private property rights in space, etc.

2) Money. I will be investing a significant amount of my own money in
this venture, and in June will begin formal fund raising through the
sale of equity in the company. While I have some good leads, I can
never have too many. You may be surprised about the kinds of contacts
you may have, even indirect contacts to wealthy people through
friends, relatives and associates.

I will appreciate and remember any help.

NEXT report:

I intend to distribute another progress report around mid-June.

Many people have said that NEAP will excite the public with its bold
mission to another planetary body, making its claims, and showing the
general public that they can be involved in space activities, NOW.

I will find all possible ways to leverage NEAP into a position
to help create cheap access to space, to help other entrepreneurial
companies, and in general to rekindle the public interest and hope in
going to space in their lifetimes.

I am open to any suggestions you may have, on any aspect of this

Jim Benson

Space Development, LLC - NEAP (Near Earth Asteroid Prospector)
-o- Exploration and Utilization of Space Resources -o-