Link here. The article tries to put a positive spin on the company’s decline, but the facts described tell a different story, with its failure to raise investment capital essentially forcing it to shut down, with its best people leaving for greener pastures.
[The fund-raising failure] forced a sharp reduction in Planetary Resources’ workforce. How sharp? Lewicki declined to say, but LinkedIn’s listings show that a number of employees have moved on to Blue Origin, Amazon and other companies.
Several former members of the team have started up a new engineering services company called Synchronous. Maggie Scholtz, a Planetary Resources veteran who is now Synchronous’ president of aerospace and space, will be one of the speakers at the NewSpace conference. The event gets under way on Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Lake Washington in Renton, Wash. Other Synchronous partners include Chris Voorhees, who was Planetary Resources’ chief engineer until February; Peter Illsley, Planetary Resources’ former director of mechanical and thermal engineering; Brian Geddes, former director of software; and Rhae Adams, former director of mining and energy.
Planetary Resources had to let a robotic worker go as well. Arkyd-6A, the experimental Earth-observing satellite that was launched for the company in January, is now idle in low Earth orbit.
When this company made its splashy appearance in 2012, claiming it planned to do asteroid mining, I said hogwash. They weren’t an asteroid mining company, at best they were a cubesat-sized orbiting telescope company, testing technologies for looking at asteroids.
In the end, they weren’t even that. Arkyd-6A has taken one picture of the Earth, and is not competitive with numerous other Earth-observation companies that have already launched many superior and commercially profitable satellites.
I am not optimistic for the future of this company. The lesson it provides however is important. Companies that oversell themselves should be viewed with great skepticism.
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