A Bellevue company aiming to mine asteroids for valuable metals and water is reporting progress on its first space craft in a YouTube video posted recently.
Chris Lewicki, president and chief engineer of Planetary Resources, talks about the Arkyd-100, the company's telescope and telescope and technology demonstrator that will investigate near-earth asteroids for mining potential.
"You can see the density of everything we've packed into these 11 kg, from our deployable solar arrays, to the integrated avionics bay on the bottom, and our instrument and sensor package at the back of the comparatively large optical assembly that really dominates the volume of the spacecraft. Of course what you can’t see the innovations that we’re developing in the flight software, but our software team will assure that they exist," Lewicki says in the video.
What do you think of Planetary Resources' chances of getting to space? Tell us in the comments.
The telescopes and the other prospecting equipment that Planetary Resources plans to develop will be built at the company's Bellevue headquarters, Lewicki says in the video.
The company's first step into space could be made within two years with the company's first line in its family of deep-space prospecting spacecraft, the Arkyd-100 Series, which will have a camera, communications systems, and data collection systems that will help the company develop future spacecraft and identify asteroids that have the right material to mine, Lewicki said at a press conference last year.
The materials that can be mined from asteroids include precious metals and water--which also has the components for fuel for rockets, and which could help expand the human presence in space, officials say.
Planetary Resources involves ex-NASA and ex-Microsoft employees, as well as a star-studded slate of investors and advisers, including Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, filmmaker James Cameron and Microsoft's former Chief Software Architect Charles Simonyi, who has traveled to space as a tourist aboard Russian Soyuz crafts.
The company, founded by Eric Anderson and Peter H. Diamandis, is banking that the future of space exploration depends on being able to gather resources in space.