Luxembourg to Launch a Fund Offering Financial Support for Space Resources Industry

LUXEMBOURG (Luxembourg Government PR – To promote Luxembourg as a European hub for the exploration and commercial use of space resources, the Ministry of the Economy conducted from April 9th to April 13th an economic mission headed by Luxembourg’s Crown Prince to the U.S. West Coast. The mission aimed to identify and develop new business opportunities and to promote the governmental SpaceResources.lu initiative that offers an attractive overall framework for space resource utilization related activities, including but not limited to the legal regime to provide private companies and investors with a secure legal environment as of the ownership of resources gathered in space.

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NIAC Awards Take Aim at Asteroid Mining, ISRU

Asteroid Itokawa (Credit: JAXA)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program recently awarded five grants for the development of new technologies for analyzing asteroids, extracting resources from them, and using the materials for new space products.

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NIAC Phase II Award: Optical Mining of Asteroids, Moons, and Planets

Optical Mining of Asteroids, Moons, and Planets to Enable Sustainable Human Exploration and Space Industrialization (Credits: Joel Sercel)

Optical Mining of Asteroids, Moons, and Planets to Enable Sustainable Human Exploration and Space Industrialization

Joel Sercel
TransAstra Corp.
Lake View Terrace, CA

Amount: up to $500,000
Length of Study: 2 years

Description

Problem — Deep Space Human Exploration is Unaffordable:

In 2014 the NASA Advisory Council issued a finding that “The mismatch between NASA’s aspirations for human spaceflight and its budget for human spaceflight is the most serious problem facing the Agency.”

Since the time of that advisory, NASA has conducted many mission and systems analyses, but has yet to publish a sustained mission plan and cost analysis that fits within any budget that Congress will approve. NASA’s vision of human exploration remains unaffordable largely due to the high cost of launching large quantities of drinking water, oxygen, radiation shielding and especially rocket propellant from Earth.
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Goldman Sachs Bullish on Asteroid Mining

Asteroid Retrieval Mission (Credit: NASA)

Goldman Sachs says asteroid mining is more realistic than most people think.

In a 98-page note for clients seen by Business Insider, analyst Noah Poponak and his team argue that platinum mining in space is getting cheaper and easier, and the rewards are becoming greater as time goes by.

“While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower. Prospecting probes can likely be built for tens of millions of dollars each and Caltech has suggested an asteroid-grabbing spacecraft could cost $2.6bn,” the report says….

The rewards would be vast: just one asteroid might contain $50 billion (£40 billion) of platinum:

“Space mining could be more realistic than perceived. Water and platinum group metals that are abundant on asteroids are highly disruptive from a technological and economic standpoint. Water is easily converted into rocket fuel, and can even be used unaltered as a propellant. Ultimately being able to stockpile the fuel in LEO [low earth orbit] would be a game changer for how we access space. And platinum is platinum. According to a 2012 Reuters interview with Planetary Resources, a single asteroid the size of a football field could contain $25bn- $50bn worth of platinum.”

Read the full story.

Luxembourg Government Becomes a Key Shareholder of Planetary Resources

luxembourg_flag-svgLUXEMBOURG (Luxembourg PR)–The Luxembourg Government, the public-law banking institution “Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement” (SNCI) and U.S.-based space technology company Planetary Resources have signed a 25 million euro investment and cooperation agreement within the framework of Luxembourg’s SpaceResources.lu initiative which aims at the exploration and the commercial utilization of resources from Near Earth Objects (NEOs), such as asteroids.

Within this agreement, the Luxembourg Government invests direct capital in Planetary Resources, Inc. and the Ministry of Economy is providing funding through different types of R&D grants.

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Planetary Resources Finalizes 25 Million Euro Investment

planetary_resourcesREDMOND, Washington, November 3, 2016 (Planetary Resources PR) – Planetary Resources, Inc., the asteroid mining company, announced today that it has finalized a 25 million euro [$27.75 million] agreement that includes direct capital investment of 12 million euros and grants of 13 million euros from the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the banking institution Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement (SNCI).

The funding will accelerate the company’s technical advancements with the aim of launching the first commercial asteroid prospecting mission by 2020. This milestone fulfilled the intent of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Grand Duchy and its SpaceResources.lu initiative that was agreed upon this past June.

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Mx Space to Partner with Asteroid Mining Firm, Deep Space Industries

dsi_logoGUADALAJARA, Mexico. September 28, 2016 (Mx Space/DSI PR) — On September 29, at 11:00 a.m. local time, Deep Space Industries (DSI) and MxSpace will sign an historic agreement that marks the beginning of an international partnership between the companies to promote the development of new commercial space technologies and business ventures. Dr. Francisco Mendieta from Agencia Espacial Mexicana (AEM), as well as executives from both MxSpace and Deep Space Industries, will take part in the signing ceremony at the MxSpace booth (booth #24) on the trade show floor of the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara.

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Links to Parabolic Arc’s Coverage of Small Satellite 2016 Conference

SkyFire’s new infrared technology will help NASA enhance its knowledge of the lunar surface. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)
SkyFire’s new infrared technology will help NASA enhance its knowledge of the lunar surface. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

The Small Satellite 2016 Conference is now over. Below are links to Parabolic Arc’s coverage of the conference and the CubeSat Workshop that preceded it last weekend. There are also links to announcements made during the conference and in recent weeks.

Small Satellite Conference Coverage

Recent Smallsat News & Announcements

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Smallsat 2016: A Closer Look at DSI’s Prospector-1 Mission

Prospector-1 mission (Credit: DSI)
Prospector-1 mission (Credit: DSI)

Deep Space Industries’ Grant Bonin provided more details this week about the company’s Prospector-1 asteroid mission at the Small Satellite Conference in Utah.  Below is a summary based on the tweets of Jeff Foust ‏(@jeff_foust) and David Hurst ‏(@OrbitalDave).

Enjoy!

Grant Bonin
Deep Space Industries

  • Prospector-1 will be the first commercial spacecraft sent to an asteroid
  • Prospector-1 is a 50-kg spacecraft whose main objective is to look for extractable water
  • Water will be key to the cis-lunar economy
  • Company examining 6 “very attractive” asteroids to explore
  • There’s a lot we still don’t know about asteroids – two asteroids that appear similar can be very different
  • Prospector-1 will attempt to soft land on asteroid at the end of its surveying mission to study regolith
  • Landing will also validate policy regime for commercial asteroid resources
  • Prospector-1 has midwave and visible infrared imaging for imaging asteroid and neutron spectrometer to study subsurface hydrogen
  • Spacecraft will launch as a secondary payload, use its own chemical rocket stage to leave Earth orbit for the asteroid
  • DSI will use super heated water for spacecraft propulsion

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Deep Space Industries Announces Prospector-1 Mission

Prospector-1 mission (Credit: DSI)
Prospector-1 mission (Credit: DSI)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) — Deep Space Industries announced today its plans to fly the world’s first commercial interplanetary mining mission. Prospector-1™ will fly to and rendezvous with a near-Earth asteroid, and investigate the object to determine its value as a source of space resources. This mission is an important step in the company’s plans to harvest and supply in-space resources to support the growing space economy.

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Entrepreneurial Lingo Lesson: The Pivot

twist_chubby1_disrupt copy
First in an irregular series on entrepreneurial buzz words

Come on let’s pivot again,
Like we did last quarter!
Yeaaah, let’s pivot again,
Like we did last year!

Do you remember when,
ROI was really hummin’,
Yeaaaah, let’s pivot again,
Pivotin’ time is here!

Heeee, and round and round til IPO we go!
Oh, baby, make those investors love us so!

Let’s pivot again,
Like we did last quarter!
Yeaaah, let’s pivot again,
Like we did last year!

There comes a time in the existence of many startups when there an urgent need to change direction. You set up the company to pursue a goal, but for one reason or several — a lack of a market, shortage of investment, regulatory hurdles, a flawed concept — you have to direct all that talent, technology and enthusiasm toward a new objective that will keep the company in operation.

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The Long, Sad History of Excalibur Almaz

Excalibur Almaz's space tourism vehicle concept. (Credit: Excalibur Almaz)
Excalibur Almaz’s space tourism vehicle concept. (Credit: Excalibur Almaz)

Houston Press has a long, sad look at one of the more curious NewSpace projects, Excalibur Almaz, and the man behind it, Art Dula.

Excalbur Almaz is a company based in the Isle of Man whose goal is to refurbish a couple of Soviet-era Almaz space stations and four crew return capsule for some type of space mission. The company has gone through numerous iterations, from space tourism to commercial space station to NASA commercial crew to deep space mining facility.

So far they haven’t raised enough money for any of these ideas, although the company has generated a couple of investor lawsuits alleging fraud, one dismissed and the other still pending.

There are a couple very troubling allegations that are chronicled in the story. One is that the sales agreement between Excalbur Almaz and the Russian seller stipulated that the technology was not to be modified for space flight. This is alleged in a lawsuit filed by Japanese investor Takafumi Horie.

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Planetary Resources Signs MOU With Luxembourg Government, Bank

Arkyd-3 satellite (Credit: Planetary Resources)
Arkyd-3 satellite (Credit: Planetary Resources)

REDMOND, Wash., USA,  June 13, 2016 (Planetary Resources PR) – Planetary Resources, Inc., the asteroid mining company, announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the banking institution Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement (SNCI).

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SpaceResources.lu: New Law to Provide Framework for Space Resource Utilization

Asteroid Eros
Asteroid Eros

LUXEMBOURG CITY (Luxembourg Government PR) — The Luxembourg Government forges ahead with the SpaceResources.lu initiative by presenting an overall strategy to be implemented progressively for the exploration and commercial utilization of resources from Near Earth Objects (NEOs), such as asteroids. Amongst the key actions undertaken is the establishment of an appropriate legal and regulatory framework for space resource utilization activities to provide private companies and investors with a secure legal environment.

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