Asteroid Mining Company's 1st Satellite Launches from Space Station
Planetary Resources

JULY 16, 2015
Planetary Resources’ First Spacecraft Successfully Deployed, Testing Asteroid Prospecting Technology on Orbit

Redmond, Washington – July 16, 2015 – Planetary Resources, Inc., the asteroid mining company, announced today that its Arkyd 3 Reflight (A3R) spacecraft deployed successfully from the International Space Station’s (ISS) Kibo airlock and has begun its 90-day mission. The demonstration vehicle will validate several core technologies including the avionics, control systems and software, which the company will incorporate into future spacecraft that will venture into the Solar System and prospect for resource-rich near-Earth asteroids.

A3R with Planetary Resources Team.

Arkyd 3R Deploying from the Kibo Module on the International Space Station, Courtesy of NASA.

The A3R launched to the ISS onboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 in April as a part of the CRS-6 crew resupply mission.  “Our philosophy is to test often, and if possible, to test in space.  The A3R is the most sophisticated, yet cost-effective, test demonstration spacecraft ever built.  We are innovating on every level from design to launch,” said Chris Lewicki, president and chief engineer, Planetary Resources, Inc.  “By vertically integrating the system at our facility in Redmond, we are in constant control of every component, including the ones we purchase off the shelf and the others that we manufacture using 3D printers.”

CRS-6 launch to the ISS with A3R on board, courtesy of SpaceX.

Peter H. Diamandis, M.D., co-founder and co-chairman, Planetary Resources, Inc., stated, “The successful deployment of the A3R is a significant milestone for Planetary Resources as we forge a path toward prospecting resource-rich asteroids. Our team is developing the technology that will enable humanity to create an off-planet economy that will fundamentally change the way we live on Earth.”

Once the A3R completes its mission, the validated and evolved technologies will be the main components of the Arkyd series of deep-space asteroid-prospecting spacecraft. The next demonstrator, the Arkyd-6 (A6), is scheduled to launch later this year and will test the next generation of attitude control, power, communication and avionics systems and also add sensors for detection and characterization of resources.

Arkyd 6, launching later this year.

Planetary Resources is leveraging the increased payload capacity of the A6 to begin demonstration of core technology to measure resources on water-rich asteroids. Included in the payload is a mid-wave infrared imaging system, able to precisely measure temperature differences of the objects it observes, as well as acquire key data related to the presence of water and water-bearing minerals.  The system will first test targeted areas of our own planet before being deployed to near-Earth asteroids on future missions.

Eric Anderson, co-founder and co-chairman, Planetary Resources, Inc., said, “This key technology for determining resources on asteroids can also be applied towards monitoring and managing high-value resources on our home planet. All of our work at Planetary Resources is laying the foundation to better manage and increase humanity’s access to natural resources on our planet and in our Solar System.”

About Planetary Resources

Planetary Resources, Inc. was founded in 2009 by Eric Anderson and Dr. Peter H. Diamandis. Our vision is to establish a new paradigm for resource utilization that will bring the Solar System within humanity’s economic sphere of influence. The company will conduct low-cost robotic space exploration beginning with the Arkyd series of space missions that will identify the most commercially viable near-Earth asteroids. These initial missions will assist the company in enabling the retrieval of raw materials from these select asteroids, including water, precious metals and more.

Planetary Resources is financed by industry-launching visionaries, three of whom include Google’s CEO Larry Page & Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt; and Ross Perot, Jr., Chairman of Hillwood and The Perot Group; who are committed to expanding the world’s resource base so humanity can continue to grow and prosper for centuries to come. Some of the company’s partners and advisors include the Bechtel Corporation; film maker and explorer James Cameron; former Chief of Staff, United States Air Force General T. Michael Moseley (Ret.); Sara Seager, Ph.D., professor of Planetary Science & Physics at MIT and TED fellow; and Dante Lauretta, Ph.D., professor of Planetary Science at the University of Arizona and principal investigator of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission. Members of the company’s technical staff have worked on every recent U.S. Mars lander including Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity, and include other key non-aerospace and safety-critical disciplines.

For more information, please visit Planetary Resources

Deployment Photos (Courtesy of NASA)

A3R Deploying from the International Space Station (Courtesy of NASA).

A3R deploying from the ISS Kibo Airlock (Courtesy of NASA).

A3R shortly after deploying from the ISS Kibo Airlock (Courtesy of NASA).

A3R shortly after deploying from the ISS Kibo Airlock (Courtesy of NASA).

Arkyd 3 spacecraft currently on orbit.

Press Release JULY 15, 2015
Planetary Resources Moves Closer to Mining Asteroids


Redmond, Washington – July 15, 2015 – Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company, is taking steps towards its goal of opening up democratic access to the Solar System’s resources. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded the company two grants to advance the  innovative designs of a compact hyperspectral imager and a 3D printed integrated structure and propulsion system. These technologies will play major roles in Planetary Resources’ mission to detect and identify commercially viable near-Earth asteroids.

The Compact Hyperspectral Aberration-Corrected Platform (CHAP) will enable more capable imaging missions on small satellites at an unprecedented low cost. By operating in a reduced-light environment with minimal mass and power consumption, the compact imager will be capable of conducting in-situ analysis of Solar System bodies from a microsatellite platform. This application is crucial for the study of resources on near-Earth asteroids by both maximizing capability and minimizing instrumental cost and complexity. These same innovations can also be used for Earth observations that require hyperspectral imaging, such as monitoring crop health, measuring water quality and determining composition from orbit.

“We find Planetary Resources’ proposed technical approach to CHAP to be highly relevant to not only NASA, but the resulting systems will deliver low-cost access to hyperspectral observation data that will have broad applications in the agriculture, oil & gas and mining industries,” said Matias de Tezanos, Chief Executive Officer, PeopleFund.

Planetary Resources’ second awarded contract, the Integrated Propulsion and Primary Structure Model (IPPSM) for small satellite and CubeSat applications will provide increased propulsion capability without increasing costs. The CubeSat platform has become a viable option for both technology development and scientific investigation, but the propulsion capabilities have remained one of the most resource-intensive systems to successfully implement. The IPPSM aims to reduce the resources needed for the propulsion system by integrating it with the spacecraft’s primary structure using emerging 3D printing technologies. The resulting integrated system provides a standard interface and serves as a base for additional CubeSat subsystems and payloads. The high-thrust, high delta-V propulsion system requires fewer spacecraft resources for implementation, ultimately providing more economical access to space.

“3D Systems is proud to support Planetary Resources in the development of the IPPSM, leveraging our most advanced 3D digital design and fabrication solutions to create high-performance precision parts with enhanced functionality,” said Avi Reichental, President and Chief Executive Officer, 3D Systems. “From space exploration to energy generation to patient-specific medicine, we’re helping transform bold ideas into improved outcomes for the benefit of humanity.”

“These contracts advance our pursuit of democratizing access to space with the most sophisticated, yet cost-effective systems,” said Chris Lewicki, President and Chief Engineer, Planetary Resources, Inc. “Imaging and propulsion are vital in our mission to prospect materials from resource-rich asteroids. Both the CHAP and IPPSM systems will contribute to collecting further information on these asteroids by enhancing our fleet of prospecting spacecraft. We look forward to advancing these technologies and serving customers as we deploy them first in Earth’s orbit.”

For more information, please visit Planetary Resources

Someday Will We Mine the Moon?
Topic By Kate Prengaman

It sounds like the plot of a science fiction novel or a publicity stunt, but a new company, Planetary Resources, was founded this spring with the express goal of mining near Earth asteroids. Founded by billionaires from the tech empire, including Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, and film director James Cameron, the company wants to tap into the mineral reserves floating past the planet.

Asteroid mining could provide a new source of raw materials to bring back to earth, like nickel, platinum, or gold. It could also provide construction supplies for future space colonies. Scientists think that even water, a critical resource for any future humans living in outer space, could potentially be harvested from asteroids.

Source: Best Thinking

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Asteroid Mining Company's 1st Satellite Launches from Space Station Planetary Resources