|Founded||November 2010as Arkyd Astronautics|
|Founder(s)||Peter H. Diamandis
Eric C. Anderson
|Headquarters||Seattle, Washington, U.S.|
|Key people||Chris Lewicki: President & Chief Engineer 
Tom Jones: Advisor 
Sara Seager: Advisor
Larry Page 
Eric Schmidt 
James Cameron 
Charles Simonyi 
K. Ram Shriram 
Ross Perot, Jr.
Planetary Resources, Inc., formerly known as Arkyd Astronautics, is an American company which was formed in November 2010, and reorganized and renamed in 2012. Their stated goal is to "expand Earth's natural resource base" by developing and deploying the technologies for asteroid mining. Some sources in the company state that Planetary Resources is Arkyd Astronautics under a new name, but Eric Anderson (formerly of Space Adventures), a co-founder, has also said that Arkyd became a wholly owned subsidiary of Planetary Resources.
Although the long-term goal of the company is to mine asteroids, its initial plans call for developing a market for small (30–50 kg) cost-reduced space telescopes for both Earth observation and astronomy. These spacecraft would employ a laser-optical system for ground communications, reducing payload bulk and mass compared to conventional RF antennae.[not verified in body] The deployment of such orbital telescopes is envisioned as the first step forward in the company's asteroid mining ambitions. The same telescope satellite capabilities that Planetary Resources hopes to sell to customers can be used to survey and intensively examine near-Earth asteroids.
Arkyd Astronautics was founded in November 2010, with Peter Diamandis as co-chairman and director, and president and chief engineer Chris Lewicki; it recruited some employees through open job postings. According to co-founder Eric Andersen, the name "Arkyd Astronautics" was deliberately ambiguous, to help keep the company's asteroid-mining agenda secret. Planetary Resources' website was registered on 22 February 2012, by Anderson Astronautics.
The company gained media attention in April 2012 with the announcement of a press conference, scheduled for April 24 of that year. The initial press release provided limited information; as of April 20, 2012, only a list of major investors and advisors was known. Included in the list were a number of people notable for their entrepreneurship and interest in space, exploration, and research. Some also had previous involvement in space research. It was speculated that Planetary Resources was "looking for ways to extract raw materials from non-Earth sources," as the means by which it would (as stated in the press release) "add trillions of dollars to the global GDP." From the outset, the dominant assumption was that the company intended to develop asteroid mining operations, with one anonymous source reportedly verifying that claim in advance of the April 24 event.
Planetary Resources also established an eponymous website (http://planetaryresources.com). The site was registered on 22 February 2012, by an entity calling itself Anderson Astronautics. Before the April 24 press conference, the publicly accessible area of the site included only a title page. This had the company logo, a notice for the April 24 announcement, some basic contact information, and a "sign-up" for email notifications. Changes to the website were promised for the day of the announcement. After the press conference began, several additional pages were added to the site; including more detailed information about the company, their project goals, the technologies involved, and concept art.
The "unveiling" press conference was held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington on Tuesday, April 24, 2012. Tickets for this event were offered for sale to the general public at a basic price of (U.S.) $25.00, and were sold out. The main announcements and discussion were handled by an onstage panel of five key people[who?] involved with the project. The press conference was also webcast by SpaceVidcast. Live chat functionality was included with the webcast, although it included only limited interaction with major participants at the live event.
In July 2012, Planetary Resources announced an agreement with Virgin Galactic to enable multiple launch opportunities for its series of spacecraft on LauncherOne starting with the Arkyd-100 series of space telescopes.
In April 2013, Planetary Resources announced that Bechtel Corporation has joined Planetary Resources group of investors and will be a collaborative partner in helping Planetary Resources achieve its long-term mission of mining asteroids.
The first stage will be a survey and analysis, using purpose-built satellites in Earth orbit, to locate the best potential targets among near-Earth asteroids. Several small space telescopes, with various sensing capabilities, are to be launched for this purpose. The company website asserts that their space telescopes will be made available for hire, for private uses. The company also intends to produce satellites for sale. Their first model of space telescope, the Arkyd-100, has been introduced.
Later stages of the strategic plan envision sending survey probes to selected asteroids in order to map, including deep-scanning, and to conduct sample-and-analysis and/or sample-and-return missions. The company has stated that it could take a decade to finish identifying the best candidates for commercial mining.
Ultimately, their intent is to establish fully automated/robotic asteroid-based mining and processing operations, and the capability to transport the resulting products wherever desired. In addition to the extraction of industrial and precious metals for space-based and terrestrial use, the project envisions producing water for an orbital propellant depot. Developing the necessary technologies to maturity, and deploying them in proof-of-concept operations, is the company's intermediate-to-long-term objective.
Another goal is to develop the technology to affect and control the orbits of small asteroids. This could also be used for dealing with any potentially hazardous objects in near-Earth space, which presented a serious risk of impact with the planet.
Planetary Resources is seeking partnerships and opportunities to market their capabilities for other, related purposes; such as education and research.
In April of 2013, the company announced that in early 2014 they plan on launching CubeSats called "Arkyd-3", which is the testbed manifestation of the Arkyd-100 spacecraft. The main purpose of the launch will be to test technologies for the first Arkyd-100 spacecraft.
- Arkyd Series 100 (aka "Leo Space Telescope" ) — Earth-observer and asteroid-locator satellite. Able to provide "on-demand" Earth imaging to a wider consumer base due to an "unprecedented low price", this will scout for potentially viable asteroids from Low Earth orbit (LEO, hence the name). The Arkyd 100 will have a mass of 11 to 15 kilograms (24–33 lb). The optics system of the spacecraft will have three uses: faint object observation and detection (as faint as magnitude 19), near-field bright-object analysis, and optical communications
- Arkyd Series 200 (aka "Interceptor") — asteroid interceptor with a suite of instruments able to collect scientific data on physical characteristics of the target asteroid. Unlike its Earthbound predecessor Leo, Interceptor will be "designed to intercept asteroids that come within 10 to 30 Lunar-radii of Earth". Planetary Resources envisions multiple Interceptor telescopes approaching and gathering data on an asteroid.
- Arkyd Series 300 (aka "Rendezvous Prospector") — with a larger common propulsion system than the Arkyd 200, is designed to be able to accomplish deep-space exploration "up to half-way across the inner solar system." Like the Interceptor missions, multiple Rendezvous Prospectors can distribute risk and increase data-point collection. This class of instruments will gather more detailed information on the asteroid such as the size, shape, rotation and density; as well this it will analyse elements such as surface and sub-surface composition that will be necessary for any mining expedition.
Planetary Resources is making preliminary plans for spacecraft models beyond the Arkyd 300, which would go beyond collecting asteroidal data and begin to capture asteroidal samples or perform mineralogic extraction experiments, but they did not make those plans public as of August 2012[update].
Flight test system
Planetary Resources will package a number of the non-optical satellite technologies of the Arkyd 100—essentially the entire base of the Arkyd 100 satellite model revealed in January 2013, but without the space telescope—and pack those subsystems into a "cost-effective box" for early in-space flight testing on a nanosatellite to be named the Arkyd 3, or A3. The Arkyd 3 testbed satellite will be packaged in a 3U CubeSat form-factor of 10×10×30 centimetres (0.33×0.33×0.98 ft) and will be flown to space as a secondary payload on an unrelated launch. The subsystems to be tested include the avionics, attitude determination and control system (both sensors and actuators), and integrated propulsion system that will enable proximity operations for the Arkyd line of prospectors in the future. The near-term attempt to validate and mature the technology is planned to launch in early 2014, before launch and flight test of the Arkyd 100 in 2015.
The flight test cubesat is named A3 after a Star Wars probe droid made by Arakyd Industries, deployed to locate galactic resources. The fictional Arakyd Industries was the inspiration for the original name of Planetary Resources, Arkyd Astronautics, of which "Arkyd" has been retained in the naming scheme of each of Planetary Resources' series of spacecraft.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Planetary Resources, Inc.|
- Asteroid mining
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- Mining the Sky: Untold Riches from the Asteroids, Comets, and Planets
- Propellant depot
- Shackleton Energy Company
- Space-based industry
- SpaceDev & their Near Earth Asteroid Prospector
- Space manufacturing
- Space mining
- Space trade
- Space technology
- Inspiration Mars
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