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‘Space selfie’ project canceled; refunds offered

Image: Space selfie
An artist’s conception shows how an Arkyd 100 space telescope would have taken a “space selfie” from orbit. (Credit: Planetary Resources via Kickstarter)

REDMOND, Wash. – Three years ago, Planetary Resources raised more than $1.5 million on Kickstarter to build a space telescope that would let users snap selfies from orbit. Today, the company says it can’t follow through on the project – and is offering full refunds to its 17,614 backers.

“It’s a decision that we make with a heavy heart,” Chris Lewicki, president and CEO of Planetary Resources, told GeekWire during a visit to the company’s Redmond headquarters.

Lewicki said the support received during the Kickstarter campaign exceeded their wildest expectations, but it wasn’t enough to fund everything that needed to be done to turn the promised system into reality.

“We evaluated a lot of different opportunities with businesses, with educational institutions, with different outlets,” he said. “What we didn’t find, since the campaign closed a few years ago, was the follow-on interest to take it from a project and scale it into a fully funded mission. … We’re going to wind down the project and bring it to a close.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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