Planetary Resources delivers Arkyd 6 asteroid mining technology demo for launch Dec 2017

Planetary Resources is planning to mine the asteroids in the 2020s. Planetary Resources delivered the Arkyd-6 spacecraft, their second technology demonstrator. The spacecraft has officially begun its journey to the launch pad. In the weeks leading up to launch day, they’ll be sharing with you information on the Arkyd-6.

It was moved like rollon luggage into a regular car and driven to where it will be prepped for launch.

The Arkyd 6 was built in compliance with the 6U CubeSat standard. It includes the core technology that will be used in the company’s asteroid exploration program including a mid-wave infrared sensor, second-generation avionics, power systems, communications, and attitude determination and control systems.

The A6 instrument is a broadband imager spanning 3 to 5 microns within the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. This region is sensitive to the presence of water – including that in hydrated minerals – and thermal energy, allowing it to be used as a tool to search for water on Earth and beyond. In support of our deep space exploration efforts, A6 is a part of Planetary Resources’ research and development work to create an instrument capable of detecting water on near-Earth asteroids.

There are over 16,000 near-Earth asteroids that share a similar orbit to Earth. Asteroids contain the resources that make it possible to fuel and sustain life in space.

There are an estimated two trillion tonnes of water available on near-Earth asteroids. This water can be used to sustain human life and as propellant for spacecraft.

Through an extensive multi-year observational prospecting program, Planetary Resources has selected the most promising, water-rich asteroid targets for the company’s first exploration mission.