Tag: Planetary Resources

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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DARPA Awards Arkyd SBIR Phase I Contract for Spacecraft Hypervisor

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Arkyd 100 spacecraft. (Credit: Planetary Resources)

Arkyd 100 spacecraft. (Credit: Planetary Resources)

Arkyd Astronautics, a company owned by Planetary Resources, has been selected by DARPA for  2013 SBIR Phase I award for a project to incorporate hypervisor-based software virtualization into spacecraft architectures. I know that’s a mouthful; the benefits of it are described in the company’s abstract below.

Arkyd was one of four companies working on hypervisor technology that DARPA selected for Phase I awards. The other companies were: DornerWorks, Ltd., of  Grand Rapids, MI; Emergent Space Technologies, Inc., of Greenbelt, MD; and Intelligent Automation, Inc., of Rockville, MD.  All the abstracts are below.

DARPA 2013 SBIR Phase I Awards
Hypervisor Software Virtualization

Arkyd Astronautics, Inc.
Bellevue, WA
PI:  Ray Ramadorai
Title: Spacecraft Hypervisor Implementing Modularity and Security (SHIMS)

Abstract: Incorporating hypervisor-based software virtualization into spacecraft architectures offers the capability to integrate payload software in a plug-and-play fashion, enabling more flexible and reconfigurable platforms. The hypervisor allows the payload software to be implemented in an abstracted, virtualized environment, which isolates the payload software from core spacecraft functions and offers significant advantages for payload development efficiency, modularity, re-use, integration, and test. Continue reading ‘DARPA Awards Arkyd SBIR Phase I Contract for Spacecraft Hypervisor’

Planetary Resources Joins CSF Executive Membership

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csf_logo_newestWashington D.C. (CSF PR) – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is proud to announce that Planetary Resources, Inc., the asteroid mining company, has joined CSF’s Executive Membership. The company had been an Associate Member since January 2012. Planetary Resources’ President and Chief Engineer Chris Lewicki will be the newest addition to CSF’s Board of Directors.

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Diamandis Joins 3D Systems’ Board of Directors

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peter_diamandisEditor’s Note: Strangely unmentioned in the press release below is the announcement last month that 3D Systems “had joined Planetary Resources’ core group of investors and will be a collaborative partner in assisting Planetary Resources to develop and manufacture components of its ARKYD Series of spacecraft using its advanced 3D printing and digital manufacturing solutions.” This is one of Diamandis’ companies. You think that would be relevant, but apparently not.

ROCK HILL, S.C., July 24, 2013 (3D Systems PR) – 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced today that its Board of Directors has elected Peter H. Diamandis a director of the company.

Dr. Peter Diamandis is the Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, which leads the world in designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.  Diamandis is also the co-Founder & Executive Chairman of the Singularity University, a Silicon Valley based institution teaching graduates and executives about exponentially growing technologies and their potential to address humanity’s grand challenges.

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Need a Job? Big and Small Space Companies Needed Skilled Workers

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The Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Lauren Hepler takes a look at some of the big and small space companies that are hiring right now:

Elon Musk’s space transportation startup Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is currently looking for about 200 employees, including highly technical roles in engineering and manufacturing (see the graphic to the right for a breakdown of open jobs). And it’s not just SpaceX.

“We’re hiring,” said Chris Lewicki, president and chief engineer of asteroid mining company Planetary Resources. “We take software developers of all disciplines.”

The company — which currently has about 40 employees ranging from NASA alums like Lewicki to high school interns — is also in the market for individuals well-versed in embedded hardware applications….

Even when departing from the world of startups, finding aerospace talent can be daunting. At Palo Alto-based commercial satellite company SSL, formerly known as Space Systems/Loral, the breadth of knowledge needed presents a challenge.

Read the full story.