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Project Khepri: Asteroid Mining Project
Final business report
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The business plan for the Khepri Project is to use the water mined from Bennu and convert it into fuel, then sell it at an orbital gas station. After the research was conducted, it appears that this project is financially feasible and realistic while considering a number of assumptions due to the levels of uncertainty in this field as well as the financial and time restraints of this research project.
One major assumption made during the duration of this project is that the space economy will continue to expand and grow at a similar rate as it is currently. Additionally, we assume that the market most similar to that of Bennu's will be the Lunar market, however they are not identical. Bennu's High Earth Orbit market will include more space missions both private and
public as well as permanent space stations and bases such as those planned in NASA's Artemis Program. This assumption goes hand in hand with the belief that there will be an active and growing customer base in space looking to purchase fuel.
For Bennu there are several options that have a potential to be profitable by selling propellant and water:
Sell propellant near the Moon (lunar orbit "gas station")
Sell propellant near the Earth (High Earth orbit "gas station", selling to spaceships and space hotels/stations)
Sell propellant near Mars (for future NASA resupply missions and other missions to Mars)
Large contracts with a few companies
Smaller contracts with many companies
After extended analyses, it was determined that High Earth Orbit / Cis-Lunar gas station is the most profitable solution. This strategy allows us to sell fuel at the cost determined by the Delta V and current fuel prices on Earth, allowing high flexibility. Additionally, the sales can be performed to both small and big players as this station will be directly accessible to all
spacecraft leaving and returning. Proximity to Earth also helps to maintain technological superiority of the station as well as ensure safety. Moreover, collaboration between private and public investors will ensure cash flows as well as optimal legal outcomes, getting the greatest benefits from each sector of investment while minimizing the downsides.
In regards to risk the majority of them can be mitigated through looking at the growing pains new industries experience such as the lunar and cannabis markets which have grown and faltered. With time, more and more regulations will be established stabilizing the market and increasing the attractiveness of the sector for private investors.
As a result, mining Bennu has a high potential not only for profit from this project, but also to be the safe choice step into the currently non-existent space mining industry. It is only a question of time when this sector will become well established, and Bennu possess essential resources –mainly water to be used as propellant - that are finite on Earth. Moreover, the risks associated with this project are similar to any new sector regardless of whether it is on Earth or not. With collaboration between public and private sectors, the exploration and exploitation of Bennu will be the first step into this industry with a highly rewarding competitive advantage for any nation or organization that is willing to take it.
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