Tag: asteroid mining

Luxembourg’s Bold Move into Space Mining

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ESA's Asteroid Impact Mission is joined by two triple-unit CubeSats to observe the impact of the NASA-led Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) probe with the secondary Didymos asteroid, planned for late 2022. (Credit: ESA - ScienceOffice.org)

ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission is joined by two triple-unit CubeSats to observe the impact of the NASA-led Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) probe with the secondary Didymos asteroid, planned for late 2022. (Credit: ESA – ScienceOffice.org)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Luxembourg’s announcement of its space resources initiative provides three things that companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries (DSI) need to make their dreams of mining asteroids a reality.

Legal Recognition. The United States is alone in the world in recognizing space property rights. There is some dispute over whether the law violates the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
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Deep Space Industries Praises Luxembourg Space Resources Mining Initiative

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dsi_logoMOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) — Deep Space Industries (DSI) congratulates Luxembourg’s Economic Ministry on their announcement today that they will be actively pursuing space resource utilization. Spaceresources.lu is a government-sponsored initiative, planning the exploration, use, and commercialization of valuable minerals and other resources from Near Earth Objects (NEOs), like asteroids. Luxembourg’s Spaceresources.lu initiative – to be conducted in cooperation with commercial partners – is destined to facilitate and support the creation of an entire new space industry.

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Luxembourg Launches Space Resources Mining Initiative

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Schematic view of asteroid (25143) Itokawa. (Credit: ESO)

Schematic view of asteroid (25143) Itokawa. (Credit: ESO)

LUXEMBOURG CITY (Luxembourg Government PR) — The Luxembourg Government announced a series of measures to position Luxembourg as a European hub in the exploration and use of space resources. Amongst the key steps undertaken, as part of the spaceresources.lu initiative, will be the development of a legal and regulatory framework confirming certainty about the future ownership of minerals extracted in space from Near Earth Objects (NEO’s) such as asteroids.

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Luxembourg Set to Become Asteroid Mining Power

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These photos show the relative size of three asteroids that have been imaged at close range by spacecraft. Mathilde (37 x 29 miles) (left) was taken by the NEAR spacecraft on June 27, 1997. Images of the asteroids Gaspra (middle) and Ida (right) were taken by the Galileo spacecraft in 1991 and 1993, respectively. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/NEAR and Galileo missions

Three asteroids (Credit: NASA/JPL/NEAR and Galileo missions)

Well, this is interesting:

The country is home to one of the world’s biggest satellite firms, SES, and is now planning to create a space mining industry that could both advance science and make investors wealthy, according to a report in the Financial Times.

The Grand Duchy is partnering with the dramatically-named commercial space mining firms, Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources of the US.

Luxembourg‘s Economy Minister Etienne Schneider is set to provide details on Wednesday about the joint venture, which seeks to mine gold, platinum and other minerals. Former ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain is an adviser to the effort.

What Happened to Planetary Resources’ Real Satellite?

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Arkyd-3 satellite (Credit: Planetary Resources)

Arkyd-3 satellite (Credit: Planetary Resources)

While Planetary Resources unveiled a tiny model of a spacecraft 3D printed from asteroid metals amid much hype at the glitzy Consumer Electronics Show this week, the space mining company has apparently remained silent for nearly six months about an actual satellite it launched into space.

The Arkyd 3 Reflight (A3R) CubeSat was deployed from the International Space Station on July 16 on a planned 90-day mission to “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.” It was the company’s first deployed spacecraft.

Miniature satellite model made from asteroid material. (Credit: Planetary Resources)

Miniature satellite model made from asteroid material. (Credit: Planetary Resources)

“The successful deployment of the A3R is a significant milestone for Planetary Resources as we forge a path toward prospecting resource-rich asteroids,” Co-founder Peter Diamandis said in a press release. “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.”

The company has not posted an update on its website about this significant milestone since the satellite was deployed. The silence is rather odd given the significance of the mission and the company’s PR savvy.

A3R might have already re-entered the atmosphere. A search on N2YO.com indicates a satellite by that name re-entered the atmosphere on Dec. 23. However, the listing indicates a November 1998 launch date.

UPDATE: The A3R did in fact re-enter the atmosphere on Dec. 23. The November 1998 launch date is for the ISS Zarya module that was launched at that time. Anything deployed from the space station has that launch date.

International Institute of Space Law Weighs in on Space Mining Law

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IISL_logoINTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF SPACE LAW

Position Paper on Space Resource Mining
Adopted by consensus by the Board of Directors on 20 December 2015

I. The U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act

On 25 November 2015, the President of the United States signed into law the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (H.R. 2262).1 It consists of four Titles: I. Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship; II. Commercial Remote Sensing; III. Office of Space Commerce; and IV. Space Resource Exploration and Utilization.

Title IV, which is of interest here, addresses in a preliminary way space resource exploitation.

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DSI’s Tumlinson Awarded World Technology Award

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Rick Tumlison, accepting his World Technology Award on Nov 20, 2015. Pictured with World Technology Network founder James Craig. (Credit: DSI)

Rick Tumlison, accepting his World Technology Award on Nov 20, 2015. Pictured with World Technology Network founder James Craig. (Credit: DSI)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) — On Friday, November 20, 2015, Rick Tumlinson was awarded the World Technology Award by the World Technology Network  (“The WTN”) – a global community comprised of the most innovative people and organizations at the forefront of science and technology and related fields.   Mr. Tumlinson was awarded this prestigious honor for his work at Deep Space Industries in the development of an industrial economy in space.

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Deep Space Industries Applauds Vote on Asteroid Mining

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dsi_logoMOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) — Deep Space Industries (DSI) congratulates the members of the United States Senate for passing legislation that significantly advances the cause of opening space resources to humanity. Title IV of S.1297, also referred to as the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitive Act of 2015, promotes the right of U.S. citizens to engage in commercial exploration for, and commercial recovery of, space resources in accordance with international obligations and subject to supervision by the U.S. government.

“We are pleased to see the beginnings of legal clarity in the field of space resource utilization,” said Rick Tumlinson, Chair of Deep Space Industries. “This bill is a historic step forward and demonstrates that Congress can effectively and quickly pass legislation that is important to the country’s economic future. The hard-working legislators and their staff on Capitol Hill are to be commended.”

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Moon Express Praises Senate Vote on Space Mining

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me-word-logo2WASHINGTON, DC, November 11th, 2015 (Moon Express PR) – Last night, the Senate passed landmark legislation on a unified vision for the growth of the commercial space industry. Title IV of the “U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA, or H.R. 2262 as amended)”, provides the first ever codification of rights under United States law for the extraction and utilization of space resources obtained from a celestial body.

Moon Express, Bigelow Aerospace, and many other companies are applauding the Senate for supporting the creation of a stable and predictable environment for private sector development while encouraging investments into the bold new field of outer space resource exploration and utilization. This legislation protects and supports U.S. interests as private sector companies expand the economic sphere of Earth to the Moon and beyond.

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Planetary Resources Raises $12 Million in Financing

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planetary_resourcesPlanetary Resources has raised $12.2 million in new financing as part of an offering of $20 million, according to a company filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The funding came from 16 unnamed investors.

The Redmond, Wash., company is focused on mining asteroids. It was co-founded by Peter Diamandis and Eric Anderson.

Metatron Global to Join Deep Space Industries on Asteroid Mining Quest

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Asteroid Mining Company Deep Space Industries Announces Investment by the International Investment Fund Metatron Global, A.S.

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) — The asteroid mining firm Deep Space Industries (DSI) announced today that Metatron Global, A.S., an international investment firm with offices in the Czech Republic, has agreed to make a substantial investment in the company. The investment will enable DSI to accelerate its plans to prospect for resources at an asteroid in the near future, hire more top level leadership and develop high value products based on its groundbreaking technologies.

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Deep Space Industries Appoints Chief Engineer

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Grant Bonin

Grant Bonin

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) — Deep Space Industries (DSI) announced today that renowned spacecraft designer and engineer Grant Bonin will be joining the company in the role of Chief Engineer. Mr. Bonin has 11 successful spacecraft in Earth orbit and will now drive the company’s ramp up to its first asteroid missions.

“It’s go time!” exclaimed Rick Tumlinson, Chair of Deep Space Industries. “We have the vision, the goal and core plan. With Grant, we now have the full leadership team to execute and succeed. This is the first in a series of exciting announcements you’ll see from DSI in the coming year. On our current growth path and timetable DSI’s spacecraft will be flying out to an asteroid before 2020.”

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NASA Selects Planetary Resources for 2 SBIR Phase II Contracts

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NASA has selected asteroid mining company Planetary Resources for two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards for the development of advanced CubeSat technologies.

One SBIR project involved the development of a hybrid green monopropellant/cold-gas propulsion system called the Integrated Propulsion and Primary Structure Module (IPPSM). The module would provide “a standard interface, serving as the strongback for simple integration of other Cubesat subsystems and payloads within the 6U and 12U size regimes.”

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Planetary Resources, Planet Labs Launching Satellites Aboard Dragon

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The asteroid mining company Planetary Resources is launching its first test satellite aboard a SpaceX Dragon resupply ship today. The Arkyd 3 Reflight (A3R) satellite will test out technologies for the company’s future spacecraft. It will be launched from the International Space Station at a later date.

The first Arkyd test satellite was lost when Orbital Sciences’ Antares launch vehicle exploded shortly after liftoff in October. The spacecraft was aboard a Cygnus resupply ship headed for the space station.

Planet Labs is sending up 14 more of its Dove remote sensing spacecraft aboard the mission. They are being launched as secondary payloads.

Planetary Resources Parties at Davos

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planetary_resources
A confidential source in Davos reports that Planetary Resources threw one helluva party the other night during the World Economic Forum. The source says it was the same event that Business Insider reports ended early in the morning after the booze and the patience of a neighbor and Swiss police ran out. The website doesn’t identify the company, but my source says it was definitely the space miners from Seattle.

Held in a private apartment up in the mountains, overlooking the town of Davos in the valley below, it raged until two in the morning — and only shut down because a squad of Swiss police insisted.

To fuel the festivity — and one more, planned for tonight — the party-throwers company had flown in bartenders from England.

At around 1:30 a.m., a neighbor — who happened to be the CEO of multinational insurance company — complained to the party’s hosts.

This complaint was ignored.

But then, at 2:00 a.m., one of the bartenders approached the host and said: Not only have we run out of the liquor we planned to serve tonight, we’ve also run out of all the booze we had set aside for tomorrow.

Fortune also has an entertaining account of an encounter with Planetary Resources President Chris Lewicki, apparently at the same party. You’ll see the discussion at the bar went fine until the reporter started asking some probing questions.
After I asked a few more questions about his company—like “is there really a lot of demand right now for gas stations and bottle water in outer space?”—Lewiski told me to stop being a critic. Every industry, he said, has to start somewhere. Yes. Dream big. This is Davos, after all.
Yeah, you get a lot of that in NewSpace.