Feeds

Asteroid miners to strap 'scopes to new Virgin Galactic rocket

Rock diggers want to cash in on SPAAAACE

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Washington-based Planetary Resources is pursuing the dream of mining near-Earth asteroids, signing a deal with the UK's Virgin Galactic for payload services.

Planetary Resoures wants to use Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne booster to blast a series of robot craft into space to pave the way for asteroid mining.

The firm's Arkyd-100 telescopes will be among the launches, searching out near-Earth asteroids that have lots of valuable stuff in them and figuring out if they're within range. LauncherOne is a good fit for getting the scopes into space because of its low cost, the company said.

"The more spacecraft that the company launches, the faster it will create a future where access to asteroid resources results in a vast network of propellant depots throughout space and a future where once precious and rare materials are abundant for all," Eric Anderson, co-founder of Planetary Resources, opined.

According to the space-mining-wannabe, there are over 1,500 asteroids close enough to home that they can be reached with the same ease as getting to the Moon. Which is not that easy really but at least it's been done.

Anderson hopes LauncherOne will fire up several constellations of Arkyd-100 Series spacecraft in the next few years.

Virgin Galactic announced the LauncherOne rocket at the Farnborough Air Show earlier this week, and said it expects the vehicle to start commercial flights by 2016. The firm said it wanted to "offer frequent and dedicated launches at the world's lowest prices".

"LauncherOne is bringing the price of satellite launch into the realm of affordability for innovators everywhere, from start-ups and schools to established companies and national space agencies," Sir Richard Branson said at the event. "It will be a critical new tool for the global research community, enabling us all to learn about our home planet more quickly and affordably."

The rocket will be a two-stage vehicle that can carry up to 225kg and will be able to reach low-Earth orbit for bargain prices under $10m, Virgin Galactic claims. LauncherOne will start out strapped to the firm's WhiteKnightTwo aircraft, just like the SpaceShipTwo tourist flights. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.