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Planetary Resources misses goal and trims jobs

Image: Arkyd 6
An artist’s conception shows Planetary Resources’ Arkyd-6 satellite. (Credit: Planetary Resources)

Planetary Resources, a Redmond, Wash.-based venture that aims to make a fortune mining asteroids, is facing a more down-to-earth challenge: a fundraising shortfall.

Just last month, the company had its Arkyd-6 prototype space telescope launched into orbit by an Indian PSLV rocket, and that spacecraft has been undergoing testing.

Arkyd-6 is designed to provide midwave infrared imagery of Earth, as a technological tryout for future asteroid-observing probes.

A spokeswoman for Planetary Resources, Stacey Tearne, told GeekWire that financial challenges have forced the company to focus on leveraging the Arkyd-6 mission for near-term revenue — apparently by selling imagery and data.

“Planetary Resources missed a fundraising milestone,” Tearne explained in an email. “The company remains committed to utilizing the resources from space to further explore space, but is focusing on near-term revenue streams by maximizing the opportunity of having a spacecraft in orbit.”

Tearne said no further information was available, and did not address questions about employment cutbacks. However, reports from other sources in the space community suggest there have been notable job reductions. For what it’s worth, Planetary Resources had more than 70 employees at last report.

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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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