Last year, we took a look at Planetary Resources’ plan to mine space rocks for platinum group metals and other resources with some skepticism. One of the company’s first goals was to develop a prospecting spacecraft, the Arkyd-100 Series, within the next 18 to 24 months.
The Arkyd-100 series is a type of low Earth orbit spacecraft that will search for promising mining candidates from the approximately 9,000 known near-Earth asteroids. Each of these small 11-kilogram spacecrafts will come equipped with a fold-up telescope to capture images across a “wide range of wavelengths and intensity levels.”
The satellites will also feature deployable solar arrays, avionics bays, an instrument and sensor package, and a chemical propulsion system.
On top of examining asteroids on their own, the Arkyd-100s will also create a sort of laser communications network gird. If this reminds you of how NASA used a laser sending the Mona Lisa to the Moon , that’s because NASA contracted Planetary Resources to help develop a laser communications system.
Planetary Resources President Chris Lewicki says that the company expects to launch the Arkyd 100 series sometime in late 2014 and into 2015.
This story, "Meet the Arkyd-100, a prototype asteroid mining satellite" was originally published by TechHive.