Feeds

Asteroid miners to strap 'scopes to new Virgin Galactic rocket

Rock diggers want to cash in on SPAAAACE

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.