Tag: Planetary Resources

Antares Rocket Explodes, Destroys Cygnus Freighter

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Antares_Explosion
Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket exploded shortly after liftoff from Wallops Island, Virginia. The explosion destroyed a Cygnus freighter carrying supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.

The explosion reportedly occurred about 6 seconds after launch. There was a massive explosion and then the vehicle fell back onto the launch pad. The Antares engines were throttled up to 108 percent when the explosion occurred.

The bottom of the Antares explodes right after liftoff.

The bottom of the Antares explodes right after liftoff.

Launch officials have confirmed there were no injuries in the explosion. All personnel are safe and accounted for at this time.

The cargo manifest includes 26 Planet Labs satellites that would be launched off the space station. Planetary Resources also had its first test satellite aboard Cygnus. Thee were also a number of student experiments on the ship. NASA has the full manifest.

A massive explosion occurred right after the Antares rocket hit the ground.

A massive fireball occurred right after the Antares rocket hit the ground.

This mission was Orbital Sciences’ third contracted Cygnus cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station under an 8-flight contract. Two previous contracted Cygnus missions and a demonstration flight had succeeded.

This was the fifth flight of the Antares rocket. Four previous flights had been success.

Antares uses Arojet-Rocketdyne AJ-26 engines on its first stage. These are refurbished NK-33 engines originally designed for the Soviet manned lunar program in the 1970’s. There have been problems with corrosion on the 40-year old engines; one engine exploded on its test stand in May.

The rocket’s first-stage structure is built in Ukraine. Antares second stage consists of a solid-fuel rocket supplied by ATK.

My deepest sympathies to the Orbital Sciences team and all those with payloads aboard the vehicle. It’s a bad day, but these things happen in this field. This is the nature of this business.

UPDATE: Orbital and NASA officials will have a press conference at 9 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. PDT).

Planetary Resources to Launch First Spacecraft on Monday

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Arkyd 100 spacecraft. (Credit: Planetary Resources)

Arkyd 100 spacecraft. (Credit: Planetary Resources)

Asteroid mining company Planetary Resources will launch its first satellite aboard the Cygnus spacecraft on Monday. Here is the company’s previous press release announcing the launch.

The A3 is the Arkyd 100’s technology demonstrator, and the mission will provide for early testing and serve to validate the spacecraft’s core technology and software in the development of the program.

Planetary Resources is under contract with NanoRacks, through its Space Act Agreement with NASA, to release the A3 from the International Space Station’s Kibo airlock.

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Meet the Money Behind Planetary Resources, Dauria Aerospace

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Business Insider
takes a look at Ilya Golubovich and Mike Lousteau of I2BF Global Ventures, a company that’s backing some big-name space start-ups:

Known as green tech investors, Golubovich, based in Moscow, and Lousteau, in New York, have fallen in love with the nascent space industry. They’ve backed three space companies so far: Dauria Aerospace, Planetary Resources and CloudEO, with more on the way, making them one of most active space tech investors on Earth….

“One of our first investments was Planetary Resources co-founded by Eric Anderson, Diamandis, two visionaries. With this type of innovation, their market can be in the trillions, mining precious metals on nearby asteroids,” says Golubovich. I2BF was the sole investor in the company’s $1.5 million seed round….

That’s how they founded Dauria Aerospace, which is building low-cost satellites, launching them into space and letting anyone write apps for them. I2BF has invested $20 million of the company’s total $30 raised….

CloudEO collects vast amounts of data from various satellites and lets anyone write geo-location apps with that. Those are apps that can track your location and use that to help the app, whether its finding a parking spot or documenting your photos.

Read the full story.

Planetary Resources Adds Dante Lauretta to Team

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REDMOND, Wash., September 9, 2014 (Planetary Resources PR) –
Planetary Resources, Inc., the asteroid mining company, announced today that Dante Lauretta, Ph.D., professor of Planetary Science at the University of Arizona and principal investigator of OSIRIS-REx – NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission – scheduled to launch in 2016 and rendezvous with asteroid Bennu, has joined the company as a science advisor.

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ASTEROIDS Act Would Establish Space Property Rights

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

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

Proving that there is some vision in Congress after all, U.S. Representatives Bill Posey (R-FL) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) have introduced introduced the American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities in Deep Space (ASTEROIDS) Act of 2014, which “establishes and protects property rights for commercial space exploration and utilization of asteroid resources.”

Now, if they can only get a budget passed by the end of the fiscal year, Congress could demonstrate vision and basic competence at governance, something it hasn’t achieved in many years. (It’s looking like another continuing resolution for NASA.)

But, I digress.

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Planetary Resources Wants Public to Help Find Asteroids

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REDMOND, Washington,  June 24, 2014 (Planetary Resources PR –
Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company, and Zooniverse today launched Asteroid Zoo (www.asteroidzoo.org), empowering students, citizen scientists and space enthusiasts to aid in the search for previously undiscovered asteroids. The program allows the public to join the search for Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) of interest to scientists, NASA and asteroid miners, while helping to train computers to better find them in the future.

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NASA Selects 18 Proposals for Asteroid Redirect Mission Studies

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In this concept image, the robotic vehicle deploys an inflatable bag to envelop a free-flying small asteroid before redirecting it to a distant retrograde lunar orbit. (Credit: NASA)

In this concept image, the robotic vehicle deploys an inflatable bag to envelop a free-flying small asteroid before redirecting it to a distant retrograde lunar orbit. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 18 proposals for studies under the Asteroid Redirect Mission Broad Agency Announcement (BAA).  These six-month studies will mature system concepts and key technologies and assess the feasibility of potential commercial partnerships to support the agency’s Asteroid Redirect Mission, a key part of the agency’s stepping stone path to send humans to Mars.

The agency is working on two concepts for the mission. The first concept would fully capture a very small asteroid in free space and the other would retrieve a boulder off of a much larger asteroid. Both concepts would redirect an asteroid mass less than 10 meters in size to orbit the moon. Astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft launched on the Space Launch System (SLS) would rendezvous with the captured asteroid mass in lunar orbit and collect samples for return to Earth.

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Planetary Resources Selected for SBIR Phase I Contracts

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Arkyd 100 spacecraft. (Credit: Planetary Resources)

Arkyd 100 spacecraft. (Credit: Planetary Resources)

NASA has selected asteroid mining company Planetary Resources for two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards for the development of a propulsion module and advanced imaging technology for CubeSats.

One project involves the production of a standard propulsion module that could be used for CubeSats ranging from 6 to 12 units.

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Be an Asteroid Hunter in NASA’s First Asteroid Grand Challenge Contest Series

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WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Asteroid Data Hunter contest series will offer $35,000 in awards over the next six months to citizen scientists who develop improved algorithms that can be used to identify asteroids.

This contest series is being conducted in partnership with Planetary Resources Inc. of Bellevue, Wash. The first contest in the series will kick off on March 17. Prior to the kick off, competitors can create an account on the contest series website and learn more about the rules and different phases of the contest series by going to:

http://bit.ly/AsteroidHunters

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NASA, Planetary Resources Sign Agreement to Crowdsource Asteroid Detection

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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

(Credits: NASA/JPL/NEAR and Galileo missions)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and Planetary Resources Inc., of Bellevue, Wash., are partnering to develop crowd-sourced software solutions to enhance detection of near-Earth objects using agency-funded data. The agreement is NASA’s first partnership associated with the agency’s Asteroid Grand Challenge.

Under a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement, Planetary Resources will facilitate the use of NASA-funded sky survey data and help support the algorithm competition and review results. NASA will develop and manage the contests and explore use of the best solutions for enhancing existing survey programs. The first contest is expected to launch early in 2014 based on Planetary Resources’ and Zooniverse’s Asteroid Zoo platform currently in development. The partnership was announced Thursday at NASA’s Asteroid Initiative Ideas Synthesis Workshop in Houston.

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