The company Planetary Resources, which attracted the attention of Google co-founder Larry page for his idea of mining in space so much that he decided to become one of its main investors, took another step towards the main objective. Recently, she successfully launched into orbit cubesat “the Arkyd-6”, equipped with experimental technology, designed to search for water sources in space. The launch was made using an Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and was in normal mode. The company has already received telemetry from the satellite.
At Planetary Resources note the importance of this experimental technology and say that its effective use will be of a crucial importance for their new satellite “Arkyd-301”, as it is this technology the company plans to use as the primary tool of exploration of resources in space.
Initially, Planetary Resources has faced a wave of skepticism (and even some degree of ridicule) in respect of its plans for mining in space, while many analysts said that the cost of implementing the idea repeatedly will exceed any possible benefits that could be extracted from resource extraction on the same asteroid.
The plans Planetary Resources really look defiantly ambitious in light of the fact that in its early days it was making money solely through satellites used for regular monitoring and collection of information about Earth and not a space of natural resources. The last launch, it would seem, repeats this trend, experts say, but turned with a twist and a statement of the company:
“In the case of a successful efficient operation of all experimental systems, Planetary Resources plans to use the satellite “Arkyd-6″ for MWIR is images (mid-IR region of the spectrum) of the surface of the Earth. The objects of observations will deliver agricultural, mining regions and mining infrastructure and energy,” commented a senior engineer at Planetary Resources Chris Vorhes.
“In addition, we are also planning to space-based observations from a low earth orbit. Thanks to the work of “the Arkyd-6″ the company will be able to develop the strategy for further development and use of technology for scientific and economic assessment of asteroids during missions to explore outer space resources, which will be held later.”
A key technology that is going to test the guys from Planetary Resources, is a sensor mid-infrared region of the spectrum with which it is planned to obtain high quality and accurate infrared images. This technology will be the basis of the company’s plans to develop a new system for the detection of water in space, which is scheduled to begin use in the next stage of evolution of the satellite platform Arkyd company.
In addition, through satellite “Arkyd-6” going to check and other technologies, including those that are intended for the generation, determination of heights and two-way communication.
The spacecraft will operate in a fully Autonomous mode, but it will constantly be monitoring from the control center of the satellites Planetary Resources.
“The success of Sputnik “the Arkyd-6” will determine the future of engineering philosophy and way of development of our innovation project. We will continue the development of this area through further steps in the creation of the satellite “Arkyd-301″ and in the end will go to the cherished goal of the entire programme – beginning of the mission for the development of space mineral resources”, — said the President and CEO of Planetary Resources Chris lewicki.