Planetary Resources Opening the Space Frontier to All

Planetary-ResourcesPlanetary Resources’ team of engineers who have designed, built and operated spacecraft throughout the Solar System, including all of the recent U.S. Mars landers and rovers, are now developing the most advanced space technology ever and will make it publicly accessible.

A diverse group of supporters, including Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson, actor Seth Green, Star Trek’s Brent Spiner (Data) and Rob Picardo (The Doctor), Bill Nye the Science Guy, futurist Jason Silva, and MIT astrophysicist Dr. Sara Seager, have joined forces with Planetary Resources to make access to space widely available for exploration and research.

On May 29 at 10:00 a.m. PDT in Seattle, and also streaming live, please join Planetary Resources’ Peter Diamandis, Eric Anderson and Chris Lewicki, as they, along with vlogger Hank Green, announce an unprecedented project that will change the way humanity explores the cosmos.

Program Highlights:

Gives students, teachers and the public access to the most innovative space observation technology ever built  – This technology would have cost US$100M+ to build and launch less than a decade ago; and today, it will be controlled by students around the world to explore the cosmos.

Offers the opportunity for the public to directly participate in cutting-edge citizen science and discovery – Delivers a resource to thousands of institutions and researchers in need of greater access to space to further their work and rate of scientific discovery.

Invites the public to participate in Planetary Resources’ asteroid mining mission – Anyone with an interest in space can play a role in opening up the Solar System for human activity. 



About Planetary Resources: 

Planetary Resources, Inc. was founded in 2009 by Eric Anderson and Dr. Peter H. Diamandis.  Their vision is to establish a new paradigm for resource utilization that will bring the Solar System within humanity’s economic sphere of influence.  The company will conduct low-cost robotic space exploration beginning with the Arkyd Series of space missions that will identify the most commercially viable near-Earth asteroids.  These initial missions will assist the company in enabling the retrieval of raw materials from these select asteroids, including water, precious metals and more.

Planetary Resources is financed by industry-launching visionaries, three of whom include Google’s CEO Larry Page & Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt; and Ross Perot, Jr., Chairman of Hillwood and The Perot Group; who are committed to expanding the world’s resource base so humanity can continue to grow and prosper for centuries to come.  Some of the company’s partners and advisors include the Bechtel Corporation; film maker and explorer James Cameron; former Chief of Staff, United States Air Force General T. Michael Moseley (Ret.); and Sara Seager, Ph.D., Professor of Planetary Science and Physics at MIT. For more information, please visit


Let us show our interest in space exploration by supporting the new Planetary Resources Kickstarter Project:

ARKYD – A Space Telescope for Everyone 

The first publicly accessible space telescope! Take amazing photos of space or have your photo displayed above the Earth.

Since the formation of Planetary Resources, our primary goal has been to build technology enabling us to prospect and mine asteroids. We’ve spent the last year making great leaps in the development of these technologies. These advancements have presented us with the opportunity to engage in another passion of our team:
to make space exploration accessible to everyone.

Space has always been something that most people only dream about. Very few ever get the chance to experience space — to feel that overwhelming sense of awe described by astronauts. Our challenge and vision is this: how can we make
that a reality?

Introducing: The ARKYD — [ahrk-kid]

The ARKYD is a technologically advanced, orbiting space telescope that will be controlled by YOU, the crowd, through your pledges and community involvement! You can even direct your telescope time to non-profit science centers and universities for use in your communities!

Just think about the true impact of this endeavor for a moment.  Together we can provide access to technology that costs tens of millions of dollars into the hands of students, scientists and a new generation of explorers, who will use it in ways we can’t even fathom yet! 

At Planetary Resources, our primary focus is mining asteroids, and we’re pushing the boundaries of what is possible by vertically integrating and applying innovations from consumer-based industries. It’s our goal to reduce the cost of space observatories many times over, allowing anyone to access them for their own use. We want to empower the crowd to solve the big problems of our time — and this is the first step to making that a reality.

Our primary mission is to develop low-cost robotic spacecraft to explore and mine resource-rich asteroids within our reach. The first step to making this possible is the launching a fleet of ARKYD spacecraft to identify asteroids that are ripe for further exploration. This same capability has numerous other potential applications in education and research. The goals that we want to achieve with this Kickstarter mission are four-fold:

  • To give students access to space capabilities — Whether studying planets in a 5th grade class or writing a graduate thesis, students of all ages will have the ability to direct the telescope and explore what interests them! We’re planning some exciting new educational opportunities just for K-12 educational programs.
  • To support important research and discovery — There are thousands of institutions and researchers in need for greater access to in-orbit space observatories. The ARKYD will provide a new, low-cost resource to help observe distant galaxies, search for alien planets, and monitor the skies for potentially dangerous asteroids. Researchers at MIT, the University of Washington, and across the globe have shown interest in using the ARKYD to further their important research.
  • To build excitement about space and all of its potential — The ARKYD is designed to be a fun and interactive experience that is accessible to anyone. This kind of direct access to a satellite is unprecedented. Our backers will be the first people in history to control a public space telescope!
  • To give YOU a say — What makes this mission unique is that we’re putting control of the telescope in YOUR hands. You’ll get the opportunity to help decide which science centers and museums are the beneficiaries of ARKYD telescope time, what photos to take, and more. We’re putting YOU in control! By pledging toward this mission, you’ll receive access to our website and mobile apps allowing you to follow along with the progress of the satellite, sneak peaks at photos and videos, and get voting access to make your voice heard in the future direction of the satellite!

The engineering and development of the telescope itself is being covered by Planetary Resources, however, this satellite is very different from those that we intend to launch for the purposes of locating asteroids. We’re investing millions of dollars in research and development to develop an ARKYD with advanced capabilities like photographing deep space and searching for asteroids.  The engineering and technological needs for doing each of those jobs are quite different.

Here’s where we need YOUR help: The proceeds from this campaign will go to several different areas: 1) To actually launch the satellite into space. 2) To support the spacecraft over its lifetime — including manpower to facilitate the photos, “selfies”, monitoring the spacecraft and training the staff at the chosen science center that will take over control. 3) To create an easy-to-use Control Interface that will allow ANYONE to access and control the satellite. 4) To fund the creation of an incredible, interactive educational experience that can be used by schools anywhere, to enable students to experience space in a way that’s never been possible.

1) Take a Photo of Yourself in Space!

At its core, the ARKYD is a space telescope. The large, main optic is designed to take high-resolution photos of objects in space. What truly sets it apart is that we’ve engineered the spacecraft with an external screen and a camera arm, allowing us to take pictures of the ARKYD as it orbits Earth.

Your photo (or graphic!) will be displayed on the satellite’s external screen overlooking Earth. We will then take a picture from our camera arm and send the image back to you. This is what we are calling a “Space Selfie”. Be the first of your friends to claim bragging rights on Facebook. Send a picture of your family to use on your next holiday card and be as creative as you want! All of the Space Selfies can be displayed on our community page online (if you want).

Seeing a picture of yourself or your loved ones above our planet can change our awareness of this fragile shell nourishing all life on Earth. There are no borders visible from space, and the “Space Selfie” can provide a small taste of the “Overview Effect” (The psychological phenomenon experienced by astronauts who spend time above the Earth and feel the imperative to protect our planet).

2) Use the telescope’s main optic to take beautiful photos of space

Search for potentially dangerous asteroids or study distant galaxies like never before. Some photographic examples of the ARKYD’s capabilities include: objects in our solar system, such as Jupiter and its moons, and distant phenomena, such as the Crab Nebula. The ARKYD will also be able to perform photometric applications, like determining the spin rate of an asteroid. Don’t know what object in space you’d want to take a picture of? Check out Google Sky to view some of the images of space we, as a species, already have. Here are some other examples of observations that will be possible with the ARKYD’s main optic:

3) Use Your Telescope Time to Support Important Science Education

For us, an important part of this mission is educating the next generation. You can use your telescope time to allow students to learn about the cosmos, or help researchers conduct important scientific inquiry. We’ll also be working with a science center or museum to create a special educational curriculum AND an interactive, ARKYD-themed exhibit is also currently underway. We’ve long wanted to create an exciting, immersive educational experience that will help schools around the world take advantage of this new technology. Imagine being able to walk into an exhibit and actually control a space telescope as it travels above us at five miles per second!

Students at The Museum of Flight's Challenger Learning Center
Students at The Museum of Flight’s Challenger Learning Center

Space Sciences and Engineering are two of the most challenging subjects to teach in primary education. Students rarely get to work on any real science, and are instead stuck with theory that is difficult for many to grasp. The ARKYD brings these subjects directly into the classroom, giving students hands-on experience with a space telescope. They will learn how it is launched and how it works. Even more, they will get to use it to make their own space observations.

The details of the Curriculum and the Exhibit are being created as we speak. Below you’ll find a list of educational elements that we hope to make a reality for schools around the world:

  • An immersive supplement to curriculum in physics, radio science and communications
  • Space Selfies and Space Observations from the main optic, controlled by educators
  • Access to an educational video series taught by engineers at Planetary Resources
  • Mission badges
  • A detailed poster of the ARKYD and 3D model of the spacecraft as a teaching aid
  • and more…

Advances in technology have allowed us to make the spacecraft smaller, more efficient and cheaper than ever before. These advancements also allow us to pack more computing and optical power into a smaller package.

Arkyd Space Telescope Specs

  • 200 mm aperture, f/4 primary optic
  • Resolving capability: ~ 1 arcsecond
  • Detection capability: to visual magnitude 19
  • 5 MP+ image sensor
  • Wavelength range: 200 nm to 1100 nm
  • Available filters: UV bandpass (< 300 nm), B, V, R, OIII, Hα, 1 μm bandpass, Luminence (Clear)
  • Active image stabilization
Engineers at Planetary Resources assembling the ARKYD prototype spacecraft.
Engineers at Planetary Resources assembling the ARKYD prototype spacecraft.

Planetary Resources’ mission is clear: we want to mine asteroids by developing low-cost robotic spacecraft to explore the thousands of resource-rich asteroids within our reach. We will learn everything we can about them, then develop the most efficient capabilities to deliver these resources. Asteroid mining may sound like fiction, but it’s just science.

We couldn’t accomplish these goals without a world-class team. Members of our engineering team have helped build every recent US lander sent to Mars including Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity. To learn more about our team, please watch this video:

We are thankful to have many supporters from the educational, academic, and space advocacy communities. Supporters include The Museum of Flight, The Planetary Society, and Virgin Galactic in this ambitious venture to help boost space education and interest. The support and guidance that we’ve received for this mission is nothing short of incredible! We’re extremely grateful to all of our supporters who are helping to make this dream a reality!

  • The Museum of Flight — The goal of The Museum of Flight is to be the foremost educational air and space museum in the world. They exist to acquire, preserve, and exhibit historically significant air and space artifacts, which provide a foundation for scholarly research, and lifelong learning programs that inspire an interest in and understanding of science, technology, and the humanities. currently working with The Museum of Flight as a potential location to build portions of the ARKYD itself  allowing the public the chance to watch as the telescope is transformed into a real, functioning satellite, ready to launch into space. The Museum of Flight and other world-class science centers will have the opportunity to be a beneficiary of time on the ARKYD, to be controlled by visitors like you!
  • The Planetary Society — The largest non-governmental space advocacy group – dedicated to inspiring YOU to get excited about space and all of its potential. A vital advocate for our future in space, they sponsor projects designed to seed innovative space technologies and nurture creative young minds. We’re extremely happy to have their support.
  • Virgin Galactic — Virgin Galactic is our current satellite launch provider. Virgin is developing the LauncherOne to deliver small satellites to low-earth orbit in a reliable fashion, with the capability to fly dozens of times per year. LauncherOne leverages their work in the area of commercial human spaceflight, and will provide reliable, regular launch opportunities for Planetary Resources.
  • Our Thanks — $10
    This level gets you our eternal gratitude!  Get community access to photos, videos and updates as our satellite is built and launched.  You will also have a say on how the telescope gets used.
  • (Digital) Space Selfie — $25
    Take a selfie in space. You upload your creative self expression (any picture) and we’ll capture that image on the satellite, with the Earth as the background.  We will take the photos in the order pledged, so get yours first!  You can track the countdown to your #spaceselfie on our app. Your photo will be sent to you, and (if you want) shared out on our membership site! NOTE: T-Shirt add-ons are also available!The selfie will be an ideal size for social media sharing or for printing photos up to 4” by 6”.  Funds above the goal will go to more ground stations so we can provide everyone with higher definition selfies.  Note: Photos must be appropriate to be shared on our membership site!We will also provide you with a pledge certificate shortly after the end of the campaign, acknowledging that your space selfie is in queue.  Makes a great gift for the space advocate among your friends and family!
  • (Printed) Space Selfie — $39 
    This includes the Digital Space Selfie level. We will mail your two 4” by 6” prints, along with a certificate of authenticity.
  • (Digital) HD Space Selfie — $65(Digital) HD SPACE SELFIE — This gives you a 300% increase in resolution! This is our favorite level, because Earth is worthy of a few more pixels. This selfie makes for an ideal 11” x 17” poster or high resolution desktop background. NOTE: Printed HD Selfies are also available as an add-on!
  • Help Find Killer Asteroids & Alien Galaxies! — $99Help protect our planet from hazardous asteroids and better understand the evolution of our solar system.  On your behalf, we’ll give students and scientists five minutes of observation time on the ARKYD’s main optic!  Virtually join a research team as a citizen scientist contributor and receive regular updates on their research and findings! You will also receive a (Digital) HD SPACE SELFIE before all lower pledge levels.As extra appreciation, all pledgers this level and higher will get an annual membership to The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space advocacy non-profit organization! Planetary Society membership (up to a $57 value) includes the stunning quarterly magazine The Planetary Report and special invitations to participate in community activities and citizen science projects.
  • Private Astronomer — $200Pledge here and YOU are in control.  Point the telescope at any celestial object (other than the Sun) and we’ll take an image for you – sent digitally to your desktop! Each observation represents up to 30 minutes of exposure time on the space telescope’s main optic.
    + (Digital) Space Selfie
    + 1-Year Membership to Planetary Society
  • Space Photographer — $450Take 3 of your own observations with the ARKYD! Each observation represents up to 30 minutes of exposure time on the space telescope’s main optic.
    + (Digital) Space Selfie
    + 1-Year Membership to Planetary Society
  • (Printed) Space Photographer — $650Take 3 observations with the ARKYD and have your favorite shot turned into a large poster, with the reverse side signed by the engineering team and mailed to you.
    + (Printed) Space Selfie — Add $8 for international shipping.
    Poster will be approximately 11” by 17” on thick photo paper.
    + 1-Year Membership to Planetary Society
  • Planetary Advocate — $1000Two tickets for a special event exclusively for Planetary Advocates that includes a tour of Planetary facilities where you get to meet the people behind the ARKYD, sign a roster that will go up on launch day, and leave the event with a 3D model of the ARKYD. You will also get group-exclusive quarterly briefings from the Co-Founders.
    + Special Limited Edition Mission Poster Signed by the engineering team
    + (Printed) HD Space Selfie (Prioritized to be one of the first we take!)
    + 1-Year Membership to Planetary Society
  • Education Supporter  $1,750One K-12 school, university or museum (of your choice, if desired) will get the essentials to make Science & Technology come alive with the Arkyd:
    + 10 Main Optic Observations to be directed by the teacher and students
    + 10 (Digital) Space Selfies for the students to take
    + Educational Poster describing the technology that makes the ARKYD work.
    + Special Limited Edition Mission Poster Signed by the engineering team
    + Access to a curriculum and tutorial developed by the team at Planetary Resources, in collaboration with educators
    + 1-Year Membership to Planetary Society
  • Your Video In Space — $2,500Upload a short 6 second video OR 144 frame flipbook-style scene to be displayed in orbit! The video will be recorded in time lapse (if desired), so you will see the Earth rotate beneath your video. We will send you the video file, with the option of featuring it on our site.
    + Special Limited Edition Mission Poster Signed by the engineering team
    + (Printed) HD Space Selfie (Prioritized to be one of the first we take!)
    + 1-Year Membership to Planetary Society
  • Education Ambassador — $5,000One K-12 school, university or museum (of your choice, if desired) will get the educational experience of a lifetime.  Access to the Arkyd, plus teaching tools to make Science & Technology come alive:
    + 25 Main Optic Observations to be directed by the teacher and students
    + 30 (Digital) Space Selfies and 30 Mission Patches to provide to students
    + Educational Poster describing the technology that makes the ARKYD work.
    + Access to a curriculum and tutorial developed by the team at Planetary Resources, in collaboration with educators
    + A full size desktop model of the ARKYD as a teaching tool with the pledger name (if desired) etched into it.
    + 1-Year Membership to Planetary Society

  • Benefactor $5,000
    You are a distinguished visionary helping to invent the future.
    + One ticket to join Planetary Resource Founders & Investors at two major events: The Finished Spacecraft unveiling and the Rocket Launch Event.
    + Your name will be etched on the Spacecraft
    + You get a full size desktop model of the ARKYD for your desk signed by the engineering team (unique to this level).
    + (Printed) HD Space Selfie (Prioritized to be one of the first we take!)
    + 1-Year Membership to Planetary Society
    This is our Highest Level and we want to make sure you are part of History! In addition to sponsoring the K-12 school, university or museum of your choice (Education Ambassador), you will receive:
    + (Printed) HD Space Selfie (Prioritized to be one of the first we take!)+ Two tickets (You and a friend) to join Planetary Resource Founders & Investors at two major events – The Finished Spacecraft unveiling and the Rocket Launch Event.
    + Invitation to sign the spacecraft before it launches.  Your name or message will also be etched on the Spacecraft – Visible to the world in every Selfie produced
    + We’ll name an asteroid the telescope discovers after you (first come, first served!).  We’ll use the name internally, but will also propose it as the official asteroid name to be recorded in the history books!
    + 1-Year Membership to Planetary Society
Description of the Spacecraft Unveiling: Reserved for a very limited number of guests, this event will be the last time the spacecraft is viewable publicly before it’s in orbit!  Select guests will have the opportunity to suit up and enter our portable clean-room to sign the spacecraft and send it on its way.
Description of the Launch Event: Join us on launch day at control central and be part of the energy as the spacecraft launches and we, along with you, send the first commands to the spacecraft!  Festivities will follow with Planetary Resource Founders, Investors, and you.

You can add additional items to your pledge level by simply choosing the item(s) you would like and then following the instructions below to add to your pledge! All add-ons require base pledge to be at the $25 tier and above. Instructions for adding add-ons can be found below:

Here are the current add-ons you can choose from:

  • T-Shirt: Limited Edition Kickstarter Exclusive — $30
    Ethically sourced. Add $10 for international shipping. Delivery: September, 2013
  • Printed HD Space Selfie $34 
    (Requires the HD space selfie level) – We will print and mail your photo in poster format to you, along with a certificate of authenticity. This selfie makes for an ideal 11” x 17” poster or high resolution desktop background. Add $8 for international shipping. Delivery: August, 2015
  • Holiday Greeting Card Add-on — $45
    We will turn your Selfie image into a pack of 10 (TEN) holiday greeting cards (Note: Selfie not included, you must purchase one of the selfie levels above.)  We’re still developing more designs to choose from. Add $5 for international shipping. Delivery August, 2015

ADD-ON INSTRUCTIONS: To add an add-on to your pledge, follow these steps:

  • 1) Press the ‘Manage Your Pledge’ Button above.  If you have not pledged yet, it will say ‘Back this Project’.
  • 2) Increase your pledge in the ‘Pledge Amount’ box by the total of the add-ons you want to add.
  • 3) After the end of the Kickstarter campaign you will receive a survey that will ask you questions so that you can explain how you would like the add-on money assigned.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


Due to the nature of this project, which is bigger and more complicated than the average Kickstarter project, there are more risks and challenges involved, and there are a few extra considerations in addition to those provided on Kickstarter’s website. By making a pledge to Planetary Resources Inc.’s (“PRI’s”) Kickstarter Project, you agree to accept the risks as we’ve defined them below, and any other risks even if they are not explicitly stated here. In the future, we may have to request further information from Backers to enable delivery of the rewards; change the dates on which we estimate that the Project will be finished or we will be able to deliver rewards; or make other changes. PRI will do its best to notify you of any such changes via, its website, and/or any an email address that you provide. All questions or disputes regarding eligibility for pledge rewards will be resolved solely by PRI.

Engineering and Supply Chain — The ARKYD Space Telescope will change the way people view space, and we think that we’ve developed the right team for the job. We have the team to design, assemble, integrate and test our spacecraft all at our Seattle area facility. Doing everything in one place helps reduce cost risk (for us) and schedule risk (for you). That said, building a spacecraft is difficult and there are lots of uncertainties involved! We are constantly iterating our design concepts and prototypes. As a result, the end spacecraft may differ from current models. Our design may also be influenced by the Kickstarter process, and may change following the campaign based on input from the pledgers. We’re always ready to make design modifications to improve astronomy, education and the ability to display your photo in space.
Launch — To get our ARKYD into space, we intend to ride-share on a launch vehicle. This will help save on launch costs. However, as is true for any launch and ride-share, it opens up a few challenges:

– Shared launches can be delayed for reasons outside our control, postponing our ability to provide service.

– The orbital destination of the rocket may place the ARKYD in a non-ideal location. As a result, we may end up higher than estimated (minimal impact), lower than estimated (reduced life span), or at a lower inclination (preventing us from taking photos near the poles or in precisely the locations that you request or we may prefer).

– Rockets can fail, resulting in loss or degradation of service.
Launch risks are outside our control, but in the event that the worst happens, we will do our best to serve all pledges through other PRI spacecraft in development.

– The launch and operation of a spacecraft is technically complex and involves many risks beyond PRI’s control. PRI is not responsible for any failure to perform all or part of the Kickstarter Project if such failure is caused by what the lawyers like to call “force majeure” — events or conditions beyond PRI’s reasonable control such as explosion, acts of nature, war, civil disturbances, acts of civil or military authorities, legal or regulatory changes, asteroid impacts, alien invasions, dinosaur rampages or other causes beyond PRI’s control.

Image Distribution — Managing and distributing thousands of images is no easy task. We are taking every precaution to deliver our “space selfies” and other images in a timely manner and to ensure images are not lost or deleted. We will be building a web-based platform to handle all of the image uploading and distribution, as well as partnering with established fulfillment houses to ensure all of our physical goods are delivered. The time required to fulfill all pledges depends on several factors including the total number of pledges received. Pledges will be fulfilled in the order they are received, with certain higher pledge levels having priority over lower pledge levels. We estimate that in some situations it may take in excess of one year to fulfill all pledge rewards to Backers of the Kickstarter campaign, so please be patient.
Obtaining Rewards–To obtain a reward a Backer must be verified following the completion of a successful campaign. All rewards are subject to availability and restrictions may apply as to when rewards can be provided. In the event PRI is unable to fulfill any reward for any reason, PRI will offer the affected Backer a fair substitution of the reward or will provide a full refund of the Backer’s pledge amount upon request.

— PRI is not responsible for lost or stolen rewards, certificates or tickets. Backers are solely responsible for determining any tax liability arising out of rewards provided by PRI. Backers are subject to and must comply with any additional terms, conditions and restrictions that may apply to specific rewards. Unless otherwise specified in writing in these terms and conditions or on the page, PRI is not responsible for providing meals, transportation or accommodation arrangements that may be associated with claiming a reward.

— Certain rewards may be subject to minimum requirements regarding age or other factors. It is the Backer’s sole responsibility to comply with all necessary requirements for the reward as described.

Backer agrees to hold PRI and its affiliates and subsidiaries harmless against any loss or liabilities arising from Backer’s participation in the Planetary Resources’ Kickstarter Project.

Everything regarding the Planetary Resources Kickstarter Project, including the web site and all rewards, are provided “as is”.

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