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Planetary Resources Secures Funding for Earth Observation

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Asteroid mining company Planetary Resources Inc. has secured $21.1 million in Series A funding to deploy and operate Ceres, an advanced Earth observation business.

Planetary Resources’ president and CEO Chris Lewicki with the Arkyd 6 spacecraft before delivery to the launch pad.
Planetary Resources’ president and CEO Chris Lewicki with the Arkyd 6 spacecraft before delivery to the launch pad. Courtesy of Planetary Resources.

Ceres is set to use the first commercial IR and hyperspectral sensor platform to better understand and manage natural resources. It will leverage Planetary Resources' Arkyd spacecraft to deliver affordable, on-demand Earth intelligence of natural resources on any spot on the planet. While typical satellite imagery provides only a picture, Ceres will provide actionable data with higher spectral resolutions by measuring thermographic properties and detecting the composition of materials on Earth's surface.

The funding was led by Bryan Johnson and the OS Fund, joined by Idea Bulb Ventures, Tencant, Vast Ventures, Grishin Robotics, Conversion Capital, The Seraph Group, Space Angels Network and Larry Page.

A rendering of the Arkyd 6 spacecraft in orbit.
A rendering of the Arkyd 6 spacecraft in orbit. The mission will validate the thermographic sensor and supporting technologies for the company’s prospecting missions. Courtesy of Planetary Resources.

"As we continue toward our vision of the expansion of humanity and our economy into the solar system, our team has been working on the critical technologies required to detect and identify the most commercially viable near-Earth asteroids and their resources," said Chris Lewicki, president and CEO of Planetary Resources. "To characterize these resources, it required more than just a picture, and our team has developed advanced spectral sensors to serve this need. We have also created new technologies for on-board computing, low-cost space platforms and are now applying these transformative technologies in additional markets."

Photonics Spectra
Aug 2016
hyperspectral imaging
Methods for identifying and mapping materials through spectroscopic remote sensing. Also called imaging spectroscopy; ultraspectral imaging.
BusinessAmericasWashingtonfundingplanetary resourcesCeresimagingaerospaceIR imaginghyperspectral imaginginfraredarkyd 6chris lewickilight speed

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