[SatNews] But in a message that he cheerfully ended with "Onward, upward and live to fly another day!", the Redmond company's CEO and self-described chief asteroid miner said...
Planetary Resources, the Redmond asteroid-mining company whose Arkyd 3 test satellite was destroyed when an Orbital Sciences rocket exploded Tuesday, says its next spacecraft won't fly until about a year from now. But in a message that he cheerfully ended with "Onward, upward and live to fly another day!", the Redmond company's CEO and self-described chief asteroid miner, Chris Lewicki, said "the overall impact of not getting the A3 into space is minimal to our progress." The rocket that blew up seconds after liftoff carried a payload that included Planetary Resources' small satellite, meant to demonstrate an array of tightly packed technologies it hopes to use to identify asteroids that later deep-space probes could mine for water and rare metals.
In a blog post Wednesday, Lewicki wrote that after delivery to the International Space Station, the A3 was scheduled to "hibernate" for a few months before being deployed into a low-earth orbit.
"Its mission was to space-test the avionics and controls systems, show us the strong points, failure points, and then burn up in the atmosphere as its orbit slowly degraded back to Earth after about 90 days," he continued.
"It would be very surprising if failures or setbacks like this did not occur," Lewicki wrote, so the company's strategy is to build relatively low-cost modules that allow "multiple spacecraft and safety in numbers." He said Planetary Resources' "development schedule, budget and plan are practically unaffected." The next test satellite, dubbed the A6, isn't scheduled to go into orbit until the third quarter of 2015.
Company executives were not available for additional comment.
Planetary Resources has been backed by a roster of technology and media titans, including Google leaders Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, film director James Cameron, entrepreneur Richard Branson, and former Microsoft executive Charles Simonyi.
The Seattle Times www.seattletimes.com