Test Version of Planetary Resources Space telescope Scheduled to Launch Today

Planetary Resources is a leader in developing asteroid mining. More than 1,500 are as easy to reach as the Moon and are in similar orbits as Earth. Asteroids are filled with precious resources, everything from water to platinum.

An Orbital Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft destined for the International Space Station (ISS) under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA is scheduled for lift-off at 6:45 p.m. EDT (22:45 UTC) from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport located at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia.

UPDATE: The Orbital Antares rocket exploded

The Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket lifted off to start its third resupply mission to the International Space Station, but suffered a catastrophic anomaly shortly after liftoff at 6:22 p.m. EDT.

AKA the rocket exploded.

Planetary Resources will have to try again on another launch


Planetary Resources plans to launch an Arkyd 3. It will test the systems for an Arkyd 100 space telescope but without the space telescope.

It is a 33-centimetre-long, 10-centimetre-wide spacecraft.

[wikipedia] 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 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. They contracted with NanoRacks to take the A3 to the International Space Station, where it would be released from the airlock in the Kibo module. 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.

Planetary Resources ultimately aims to spend millions of dollars placing 10 space telescopes, known as Arkyd 100s, in Earth orbit in a bid to spot the telltale spectroscopic signatures of metal-carrying asteroids in deep space.

If the Arkyd 3 tests go well, they will launch another prototype next year and then the first Arkyd 100 – selfie cam included – will follow by the end of 2016.

SOURCES – Planetary Resources, New Scientist, Orbital, Wikipedia