In November, a Chinese space mining startup, Origin Space, will launch the world’s first space mining robot into Earth orbit (designated NEO-1). Once in orbit, NEO-1 will perform a series of tests to ensure it works properly. This proof-of-concept is the first of its kind and, if successful, will pave the way for China’s budding space mining industry to take flight.
It is believed that the world’s first trillionaire will come from the space mining industry. Following the launch of NEO-1, Origin Space plans to place a small observation satellite, Yuanwang-1 (or “Little Hubble”), in Earth orbit next year to search for mineable asteroids. Beijing has identified space mining as new strategic industry that China must dominate in order to fulfill President Xi Jinping’s goal of making the People’s Republic of China the world’s hegemon by 2049.
For President Xi to realize his “China Dream” of global domination by