Planetary Resources’ Arkyd-3R probe currently sits aboard the International Space Station and is scheduled to be deployed sometime in July. Once it’s flying solo, Arkyd-3R will perform a demonstration mission, testing out systems that will enable future probes to study and eventually mine asteroids in deep space.
The company aims to achieve its grand vision via a series of incremental steps. For example, the Arkyd-3R — a cubesat that’s just the size of a loaf of bread — should be followed into space by the larger Arkyd-6 later this year, company representatives said.
The people behind Planetary Resources, and another outfit called Deep Space Industries, aim to help humanity extend its presence out into the solar system by tapping asteroid resources such as water and precious metals — while making a nice profit along the way, of course.