Optical Mining Test Bed
The Optical Mining Test Bed (OMTB) will be the basis for developing and eventually mastering optical mining technology. In order to insure that optical mining works in space with real asteroids, the OMTB simulates the vacuum of space and will use real or simulated asteroids for testing. The OMTB makes use of the world’s largest bulb to simulate the light from the sun, which is then focused onto the test object. By running controlled tests on earth, Trans Astra can develop the procedures and techniques to be used in space, especially in the flight demonstrations.
The OMTB simulates the working environment of optical mining by mimicking several aspects of space. First, the test chamber is held in a near vacuum similar to that of space. Next, the light is provided in a controlled manner by a xenon bulb, which is able to achieve the light output expected in optical mining. Finally, in order to focus the beam, the xenon bulb will be on an adjustable rail system. All of these components come together to allow Trans Astra to perfect optical mining on Earth with out having to send anything into space.