Planetary Resources Pivots From Mining Asteroids to Open Source Satellite Tracking

Formed in 2010 to mine asteroids so its founders could become the world’s first trillionaires, Planetary Resources has now pivoted to developing “TruSat, an open source, open-sensor system for creating a globally-accessible, independent record of satellite orbital positions.”

The company, now known as ConsenSys Space after it was acquired last year by a blockchain software technology startup, made the announcement on Tuesday at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington, DC.

A message from ConsenSys Space’s Chris Lewicki follows.

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NASA Supports ‘Wild’ Ideas to Bring About New Space Tech

Swarm-Probe Enabling ATEG Reactor, or SPEAR, is a nuclear electric propulsion spacecraft concept that proposes a new, lightweight reactor moderator and advanced thermoelectric generators to deliver scientific payloads to anywhere in the solar system. SPEAR was selected in April 2019 as a NIAC Phase I. (Credit: Howe Industries LLC)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA has a wild side. In fact, the agency has a program dedicated to nurturing visionary ideas that could transform future NASA missions with the creation of breakthroughs—radically better or entirely new aerospace concepts.

For years, NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) has supported early-stage research through multiple phases of study, competitively selecting Phase I and follow-on Phase II projects each year.

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Deep Space Industries Acquired by Bradford Space

SAN JOSE, Calif., January 2, 2019 (Bradford Space PR) — Bradford Space, a U.S.-owned space systems manufacturer with locations in the Netherlands and Sweden, announced today that it has acquired control over Deep Space Industries, Inc., often known as DSI. In becoming part of the Bradford group, DSI will become Bradford’s first substantial U.S. presence, providing an outlet and location for activities in the U.S. space market.

Founded in 2012 as an ambitious effort to mine the resources of the asteroids, DSI has more recently become known for the production of the Comet water-based electrothermal propulsion system. Four Comet systems are currently on orbit on spacecraft operated by Capella Space and HawkEye 360. Other customers of DSI include LeoStella, a joint venture of Spaceflight and Thales Alenia Space, and the Space Flight Laboratory, a satellite development group inside the University of Toronto.

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Planetary Resources’ New Owner Seems a Bit Flaky

Forbes takes a critical look at cryptocurrency/block chain guru Joe Lubin, whose ConsenSys company purchased asteroid mining company Planetary Resources. (Although given the headline, critical seems polite: Cryptopia In Crisis: Joe Lubin’s Ethereum Experiment Is A Mess. How Long Will He Prop It Up?)

So, how does asteroid mining fit into Lubin’s master plan?

Lubin insists ConsenSys is getting more selective in picking projects. But old habits die hard. In October it bought a nine-year-old asteroid-mining company called Planetary Resources. “We see it as a group of amazingly capable people who are interested in exploring how blockchain could ramify on space operations,” Lubin says abstrusely.

Ramify? Huh…

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Luxembourg Lost $13.7 Million on Planetary Resources Investment

Luxembourg Economy Minister Etienne Schneider has disclosed to Parliament that the nation lost €12 million ($13.7 million) investing in the asteroid mining company Planetary Resources, the Luxembourg Times reports.

In October, Luxembourg sold its stake in the company, which was acquired by the block chain management firm ConsenSYS.

The SNCI set up the SAAM Luxembourg, a company created with €13.75 million [$15.7 million], of which €12 million [$13.7 million] was directly invested in Planetary Resources for the 10% stake in its shares.

“This decision to sell results, among other things, from an analysis of the particular American legal context and prudent management which intends to limit the potential exposures of SAAM Luxembourg, or even of SNCI as sole shareholder of SAAM Luxembourg,” Schneider explained.

“The realised capital loss corresponds roughly to the value adjustment (of 100% of the sums invested in Planetary Resources) in the accounts in SAAM Luxembourg’s 2017 annual results,” he added.











Luxembourg Pivots Right Out of Planetary Resources’ Investment


The government of Luxembourg’s investment in asteroid miner turned block chainer Planetary Resources is over, the Luxembourg Times reports.

The Luxembourg government sold its 10% stake in US space firm Planetary Resources ahead of its takeover by blockchain venture ConsenSys.

ConsenSys announced on Wednesday it had acquired Planetary Resources through an asset-purchase transaction.

The Luxembourg government first took a stake in the company in 2016, when the Economy Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding and agreed to invest €25 million. 

The Luxembourg government has also invested in Planetary Resources’ rival, Deep Space Industries.











Planetary Resources Pivots Again: From Asteroid Mining to Block Chain

NEW YORK (ConsenSys PR) — Blockchain venture production studio ConsenSys, Inc. has acquired the pioneering space company Planetary Resources, Inc. through an asset-purchase transaction. Planetary Resources’ President & CEO Chris Lewicki and General Counsel Brian Israel have joined ConsenSys in connection with the acquisition.
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Planetary Resources to Auction off Equipment

Well, this doesn’t sound good.

In a fresh sign of the financial straits facing Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company will be auctioning off hundreds of items from its headquarters in Redmond, Wash., ranging from industrial-strength CNC machine tools and 3-D printers to laptops and folding chairs.

The online auction will be conducted by James G. Murphy & Co. from Aug. 21 to 28, with a preview scheduled on Aug. 27 at Planetary Resources’ machine shop, lab and offices at 6742 185th Ave. NE in Redmond.

“We are preparing to sell some equipment that we’ve identified as not currently needed and easily replaceable,” Chris Lewicki, Planetary Resources’ president, CEO and chief asteroid miner, told GeekWire in an email. “This is a result of reducing overhead as we go forward with our smaller team.”

Word is the company is down to a handful of employees. Asteroid mining is a long-term venture; Planetary Resources hasn’t found a revenue model that can get it from here to there.











Planetary Resources Declares Arkyd-6 a Success

Arkyd-6 spacecraft (Credit: Planetary Resources)

Mission Update from Planetary Resources

On January 12, 2018, we launched the Arkyd-6, a 6U CubeSat, a demonstration platform for technology intended to detect water resources in space. The launch on the Indian PSLV C40 was spectacular and within hours after our spacecraft reached its polar Earth orbit, the team began to regularly receive healthy telemetry from the spacecraft.

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Deep Space Industries Raises $3.5 Million

SAN JOSE, Calif. (DSI PR) — Deep Space Industries (DSI), a leading space technology company, announced today the closing of the first tranche of its Series A funding round. The company raised just over $3.5M from private investors. The funding will be used to develop MeteorTM, the company’s new launch-safe bipropellant rocket engine, and continue the ongoing development of the XplorerTM spacecraft, the company’s deep space exploration platform scheduled for launch in 2020.

“Deep Space Industries has rapidly developed a leadership position in the space technology market”, said Eric Uhrhane, one of several private investors in this round. “The propulsion and spacecraft technologies this team have developed over the last few years will dramatically lower the cost of access to deep space, and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

The company recently announced two significant contracts for its water-based Comet propulsion systems for small satellites, and plans to release Meteor, its second-generation propulsion system, later in 2018.

“With the growing interest in our green propulsion systems, this funding round ensures that we’ll be able to meet customer demand, while also moving forward with our more advanced systems and spacecraft,” said Bill Miller, chief executive of DSI. “Our continued investor support is appreciated as we work to lower the cost of high performance missions in Earth orbit, and beyond.”

Deep Space Industries plans to launch the first private deep space mission in 2020, using its Xplorer spacecraft. This funding round allows the company to accelerate the development of this compact, affordable, and versatile exploration spacecraft that can be used for a wide range of scientific and commercial missions in Earth orbit, and throughout the inner solar system.

About Deep Space Industries

Deep Space Industries (DSI) is a Silicon Valley-based space technology company dedicated to making space resources available to fuel humankind’s expansion into space. DSI is developing a suite of technologies intended to dramatically lower the cost of undertaking high-performance missions in both Earth orbit and deep space. Its first commercial offerings have been low-cost, launch-safe propulsion systems, which are a key missing piece for a wide range of low-cost missions. DSI is headquartered in San Jose, California, with offices in Florida and Luxembourg. For more information, visit: www.DeepSpaceIndustries.com











Planetary Resources Hits Bump in the Road

Arkyd-6 spacecraft (Credit: Planetary Resources)

Alan Boyle at GeekWire reports that asteroid mining company Planetary Resources has been forced to make some cutbacks.

A spokeswoman for Planetary Resources, Stacey Tearne, told GeekWire that financial challenges have forced the company to focus on leveraging the Arkyd-6 mission for near-term revenue — apparently by selling imagery and data.

“Planetary Resources missed a fundraising milestone,” Tearne explained in an email. “The company remains committed to utilizing the resources from space to further explore space, but is focusing on near-term revenue streams by maximizing the opportunity of having a spacecraft in orbit.”

Tearne said no further information was available, and did not address questions about employment cutbacks. However, reports from other sources in the space community suggest there have been notable job reductions. For what it’s worth, Planetary Resources had more than 70 employees at last report.

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