Tag: Planetary Resources

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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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.

Planetary Resources Ceres Satellites to Focus on Earth Observations

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Video Caption: Conceived from our vision for the exploration and utilization of resources from asteroids, Ceres, our advanced Earth observation system, delivers affordable, on-demand Earth intelligence of any point on the planet.

Read more about Ceres and Planetary Resources’ Earth Observation capabilities on our website: http://www.planetaryresources.com/ear…

Editor’s Note: Hey, you guys deployed an Arkyd satellite into space in mid-July on a 90-day mission to test technology. How did that go? It’s been six months and I can’t find any updates on it at your website.

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.

Planetary Resources 3D Prints Object From Meteorite

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Credit: Planetary Resources

Credit: Planetary Resources

REDMOND, Wa. (Planetary Resources PR) — The future of space colonization and industrialization can now be visualized.

Planetary Resources, in collaboration with our partner 3D Systems, have developed the first ever direct metal print from asteroid metals. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) today in Las Vegas, NV., we unveiled the geometric object on the Engadget stage.

Credit: Planetary Resources

Credit: Planetary Resources

This spacecraft prototype was 3D printed from actual an asteroid that was, pulverized, powdered and processed on the new 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) ProX DMP 320 metals 3D printer. It is the first part ever 3D Printed with material from outer space and is reminiscent of a design that could originate from a 3D printer in the zero-gravity environment of space.

The asteroid (or meteorite) used for the print materials was sourced from the Campo Del Cielo impact near Argentina, and is composed of iron, nickel and cobalt – similar materials to refinery grade steel.

Planetary Resources on Space Measure: We Like It!

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REDMOND, Wash. (Planetary Resources PR) — Planetary Resources, Inc., the asteroid mining company, praises the members of Congress who promoted historic legislation (H.R. 2262) that recognizes the right of U.S. citizens to own asteroid resources they obtain as property and encourages the commercial exploration and recovery of resources from asteroids, free from harmful interference.

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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.

LauncherOne’s Long & Winding Road to Orbit: A Timeline

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LauncherOne stage separation. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

LauncherOne stage separation. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

If the current schedule holds, Virgin Galactic’s revamped LauncherOne program will enter commercial service sometime in 2018 after roughly a decade of development. During that period, the program has been redefined several times, lost two of the key people hired to lead it, and changed its launch platform from WhiteKnightTwo to a jumbo jet. The estimates for the initial flight tests also have slipped by about  four years from 2013 to 2017.

Below is a timeline of the program’s major events, milestones, announcements, hires and departures, and other things. Feel free to let me know if I’ve missed anything significant.

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Virgin Galactic Focused on Larger Satellite Launch Vehicle

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Artist's conception of WhiteKnightTwo with LauncherOne (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Artist’s conception of WhiteKnightTwo with LauncherOne (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Virgin Galactic is developing a rocket more powerful than LauncherOne to fulfill a recent order for 39 launches from its global satellite Internet partner OneWeb, according to sources familiar with the program.

LauncherTwo will use Virgin Galactic’s largest liquid fuel engine, NewtonThree, in its first stage, according to sources that insisted upon anonymity. A new engine, NewtonFour, will be developed for the second stage.

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Asteroid Property Rights Legislation Introduced in Congress

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Welcome WRANGLER, a NIAC-funded idea to capture and de-spin asteroids and space debris. (Credit: Robert Hoyt/Tethers Unlimited)

Welcome WRANGLER, a NIAC-funded idea to capture and de-spin asteroids and space debris. (Credit: Robert Hoyt/Tethers Unlimited)

Legislation that would grant property rights to entities mining asteroids has been introduced in Congress.

“Any asteroid resources obtained in outer space are the property of the entity that obtained such resources, which shall be entitled to all property rights thereto, consistent with applicable provisions of Federal law,” the measure states.

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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.

New Software Helps in Detection of Asteroids

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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

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

AUSTIN, Texas (Planetary Resources PR) — A software application based on an algorithm created by a NASA challenge has the potential to increase the number of new asteroid discoveries by amateur astronomers.

Analysis of images taken of our solar system’s main belt asteroids between Mars and Jupiter using the algorithm showed a 15 percent increase in positive identification of new asteroids.

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Musk, Page, Bezos & Branson Lead List of Disruptive Innovators

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SpaceX’s Elon Musk, Google’s Larry Page, Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos and Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson has been named the most effective CEO’s in achieving disruptive innovation among established companies in a new survey.

The poll was conducted by Big Think, where important people ponder big things, and the Singularity University, which puts the exponent in  exponential technology.  The poll was apparently taken in January and involved an unidentified number of Singularity University program participants.

The four men, who are heavily invested in various space projects,  beat out such business luminaries as Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Jack Ma of Alibaba.