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back to article Space miners reach funding goal for telescope

The world could soon have its first crowd-funded space telescope, with Planetary Resources announcing the success of its Kickstarter campaign to raise $US1.5 million for its Arkyd 100 satellite. It didn't hurt the effort that backers included Sir Richard Branson – in for $US100,000 – and Google's Larry Page. The main aim of the …

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Bronze badge

Meanwhile, the PR competition is heating up

January 2013 - International Cheese Mining Corp. takes out an entire page ad in the New York Times to announce that it has received a $100,000,000 grant from Moogle, one of the world's greatest corporations. The Chairman takes the opportunity to announce a $100 budget for scientific research into its plan to deploy satellites to mine for cheese in the Swiss Alps.

March 2013 - At an international conference organised by International Cheese Mining Corp. in a 5 star resort in Ecuador, the Vice Chairman of the organisation announces the availability of $ 10,000 to open a laboratory to kickstart work on developing advanced cheese mining equipment.

May 2013 - Onboard the private jet belonging its Chairman, the Communications Director of International Cheese Mining Corp. announces the availability of a budget of $1,000 to recruit a crack team of "lab rat" researchers to staff its laboratory.

July 2013 - A banner is deployed on the 70th floor of the International Cheese Mining Corp. building in New York announcing the release of a budget of $100,000 to invade Switzerland and simply remove all the cheese by hand-drawn cart instead of mining it by satellite.

December 2013 - In the face of greater than expected odds, the Board of Directors of International Cheese Mining Corp. decides that some cheese is better than no cheese, and accordingly sets aside a budget of $30 for purchasing cheese from a local deli. This is followed by a huge AGM at a beach resort in Miami at which it is decided to wind up the corporation and distribute its assets to the directors.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meanwhile, the PR competition is heating up

During the back end of the 90s/early 2000 I had the joy of working for a startup that was bought out by a company following the above business model (and over a similar time frame).

It was with no small amount of schadenfreude I found out that the guy behind the buyout company has managed to bankrupt himself (as had his daughter - genetics, eh, what can you do!). My joy only heightened by the fact that the startup company he roundly criticised as having a cr@p business idea at a Prince's Trust event is still thriving :)

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Thumb Up

$1.5m is *ashonishingly* cheap for a satellite *especially* doing optical work.

I can definitely see why people would be suspicious.

That said anything improving our knowledge of NEO is to be welcomed.

So (cautious) thumbs up.

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Re: $1.5m is *ashonishingly* cheap for a satellite *especially* doing optical work.

Because the price relies on Virgin being able to launch it off of the SpaceShipOne platform. This is an unproven/experimental launch system that the kind of hid in the small print.

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Facepalm

[sigh]

South Sea bubble, Tulip bubble, boo.com, Facebook IPO. No matter how much we try and idiot-proof things they keep making better idiots.

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Happy

Facts and figures

Do you really mean 200mm aperture?

It sounds massive and considering you said their stretch target was a buck and a half it's hard to know how well fact checked this article was.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Facts and figures

Tom_

The 200mm aperture came from the source:

http://www.planetaryresources.com/products/

(Scroll down to "standard specifications")

"200 mm aperture, f/4 primary optic"

Richard Chirgwin

The Register

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Re: Facts and figures

200mm is 20cm, 0.2m or 7.8" depending on your perspective.

I'd put money it's an off the shelf 200mm telescope.

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Bronze badge

Re: Facts and figures

Thanks Richard.

It's always easier to be an insensitive, sarcastic forum poster than it is to provide the content, I admit. :)

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Sounds suspiciously like Arakyd - the guys that made those pesky probe droids ...

Is it any wonder therefore that Larry Page is involved?

"...Join the Empire; Our ships are big triangles..."

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That is what they based the name on, according to various blog posts from them.

For my money it sounds like a Scouser's little brother. Our Kid.

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Devil

Guilable idiots

@15Kg, launch costs are going to be in the $150,000-$200,000 region.

They are putting images on a 'display' in front of a camera on top of the unit. Ooh could that be a tablet. Probably running some of the system software.

The print + shipping won't be more than a dollar.

I'd bet they're using a COTS approach, so the main cost is going to be the Attitude and Orbit Control System + Software (controlled via the tablet)

Given the very small size and COTS, I bet they've covered most of their development costs with this cash.

If you actually read the terms, there is no guarantee you'll get anything or when you'll get access to the system.

This is being funded by Billionaires and they want $1.5m from the public to pay for this, it's a joke!

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Childcatcher

Re: Guilable idiots

I'd bet they're using a COTS approach, so the main cost is going to be the Attitude and Orbit Control System + Software (controlled via the tablet)

Won't they have to test the various components for functionality in the harsh climes (or lack thereof) of space? That ought to drive up costs a bit, you know, so that everyone on the research team can have any leftover parts not used in testing...

More seriously, while the billionaires involved might be able to fund the whole thing themselves, why should they? Making projects of this nature accessible to "regular folks" seems to be a good thing. Many, many people complain that NASA gets so much less funding that the Pentagon. It would seem this is a good channel for that sentiment. How do you get buy-in from people if they don't have anything to buy?

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Re: Guilable idiots

If the public is paying for the launch, why waste money performing NASA levels of testing it, they'll be using the web development model, make sure it roughly works then get everyone else to test it and in this case pay for it.

NASA spend fortunes testing because it's a political shit storm when it fails.

This lot have no political or financial concerns, read the terms of the kickstarter, they're not liable for anything, all they'll lose is a bit of face. Send everyone a few pictures and they may try again.

"How do you get buy-in from people if they don't have anything to buy?"

This is the crux of it, the thing is if you read the kickstarter, they're selling the promise of something with no commitment.

I get your perspective, but that is a US centric viewpoint.

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