The first commercial attempt to build and fly a scientific mission into deep space. The US mission, to fly to a near-Earth asteroid, was planned by SpaceDev, the world's first commercial space exploration company, with a future launch date to be set. The 200-kg NEAP microsatellite will carry a mixture of scientific, engineering, and entertainment payloads.
To support the mission, SpaceDev contracted with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to use its deep-space network for tracking, communication, and other support. This is the first time in NASA's history that a commercial company has made a request to use its facilities.
SpaceDev's headquarters are in Poway, California, near San Diego.
Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography — Astronomy and Astrophysics.