Redmond’s Planetary Resources, Inc., the asteroid mining company, announced today that it has finalized a 25 million euro agreement that includes direct capital investment of 12 million euros and grants of 13 million euros from the government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the banking institution Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement (SNCI).
The funding will accelerate the company’s technical advancements with the aim of launching the first commercial asteroid prospecting mission by 2020. This milestone fulfilled the intent of the memorandum of understanding with the Grand Duchy and its SpaceResources.lu initiative that was agreed upon this past June.
The public equity position is taken by the SNCI; and Georges Schmit, an advisory board member of the SpaceResources.lu initiative, joins Planetary Resources’ Board of Directors
“We are excited in welcoming the Grand Duchy as a partner and an investor. Just as the country’s vision and initiative propelled the satellite communications industry through its public-private partnerships, this funding and support will fast-track our business — advancing and building upon our substantial accomplishments,” said Chris Lewicki, president and CEO, Planetary Resources, Inc. “We plan to launch the first commercial asteroid prospecting mission by 2020 and look forward to collaborating with our European partner in this pivotal new industry.”
Étienne Schneider, deputy prime minister and minister of the economy, government of Luxembourg, said, “The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg becoming a shareholder in Planetary Resources seals our partnership and lays the ground of the principles of our cooperation in the years to come, while demonstrating the government’s strong commitment to support the national space sector by attracting innovative activities in space resource utilization and other related areas. The Grand Duchy has a renowned history in public-private partnerships. In 1985, Luxembourg became one of the founding shareholders of SES, a landmark for satellite telecommunications and now a world leader in this sector.”
Planetary Resources is establishing a European headquarters in Luxembourg that will conduct key research and development activities in support of its commercial asteroid prospecting capabilities, as well as support international business activities.
Core hardware and software technologies developed at Planetary Resources were tested on orbit last year. The company’s next mission, now undergoing final testing, will validate the thermographic sensor that will precisely measure temperature differences of objects on Earth. When deployed on future commercial asteroid prospecting missions, the sensor will acquire key data related to the presence of water and water-bearing minerals on asteroids. Obtaining and using these key resources in space promises to fast-track the development of off-planet economic activities as the commercial industry continues to accelerate.