The second flight demonstration will be of the Mini Bee, a miniaturized Honey Bee. This test will consist of extracting water from a simulated asteroid using reflectors, then using that water as propellant in a miniature Omnivore Thruster, also powered by the reflectors. This test will show that the Omnivore Thruster functions in space using extracted water, proving that the Honey Bee design will work for asteroid mining.
The flight demonstration of optical mining and the Omnivore Thruster is the next step after the Optical Mining Test Bed. In this mission a simulated asteroid will be mined for water using light from the sun, proving that optical mining technology is viable in space. Another mission will test a combination of the Omnivore Thruster and optical mining technology in space by sending up a miniature of the APIS family. These flight demonstrations are crucial to proving the technology works in order to get funding for future missions.
The first flight demonstration is a test of optical mining technology in space, after having perfected it using the OMTB on Earth. The demonstration will consist of an inflatable reflector and optical mining system using the power of the sun to chip away at and extract water from an asteroid simulant. This will prove both that optical mining is an effective method of mining asteroids and that water can indeed be extracted from a water rich asteroid. Finally the experiment will be returned to Earth in order to test the quality of the water and check that everything worked as intended.