Planetary Resources has raised $21 million

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The competition heats up: Planetary Resources, the company that claims its goal is to mine asteroids, has raised $21 million to build and launch an Earth resources satellite.

They plan to create a 10-satellite constellation to provide this data commercially.

While everything this company is doing will eventually make asteroid mining easier and more effective, nothing they are doing now has anything to do with mining asteroids. Their first project was to build a prototype orbiting telescope to look for asteroids. This second project will sell data about the Earth.

One comment

  • Edward

    Mr. Zimmerman wrote: “While everything this company is doing will eventually make asteroid mining easier and more effective, nothing they are doing now has anything to do with mining asteroids.”

    Strangely, attacking the goal from the flank seems to be the way to go, right now, in order to fund long range plans in commercial space.

    Elon Musk made his money with internet innovation, which paid for starting a commercial space company — which is providing launch services in order to pay for the goal of a future manned colonization of Mars.

    Bigelow made his money in real estate and now has a company that is likely to provide us with many of our future space-based research laboratories.

    Planetary Resources is doing a similar end-around. It is financing its goal to mine asteroids with more immediate commercial sales: information.

    On a Mars-related note, and at the risk of changing discussion on this page away from Planetary Resources:
    It seems that SpaceX is planning on using supersonic retropropulsion with its Dragon flight to mars, in a couple of years, and will attempt to put Dragon on the surface of Mars.
    “But what’s in it for NASA? The answer might be summed up in two words: supersonic retropropulsion, a landing technology that the agency increasingly sees as critical to its own Mars goals.”

    As you may recall, in a previous post Matt pointed us to a SETI talk on landing Red Dragon on Mars, and the speaker talked about supersonic retropropulsion. It looks like SpaceX is planning to do this with their upcoming unmanned Mars expedition and NASA wants to hitch a ride with some experiments.

    It seems that this is part of the payoff for NASA in getting information from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 reentry and landing experiments.

    “NASA has since gotten some data on supersonic retropropulsion, thanks to SpaceX. NASA monitored several Falcon 9 first stage landing attempts, as the stage’s initial reentry burn takes place in conditions similar to the Martian atmosphere. … Red Dragon will allow a full-up test of supersonic retropropulsion on Mars. [Mars program engineering manager at NASA’s JPL Rob] Manning said NASA hopes to get more information on just how effective that approach is, and uncover any interactions between the spacecraft and atmosphere that can’t be studied in terrestrial tests.”

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