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The first publicly accessible space telescope!  Take amazing photos of space or have your photo displayed above the Earth.
The first publicly accessible space telescope! Take amazing photos of space or have your photo displayed above the Earth.
17,614 backers pledged $1,505,366 to help bring this project to life.

Final Update and FULL Refund

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Greetings ARKYD backers! 

When we announced plans for our crowdfunding campaign, “ARKYD: A Space Telescope for Everyone,” the support from the Kickstarter community was (and still is) amazing! Our goal was lofty, and with your support, we raised a record-setting US$1.5 million in funds to support it. Thank you so much for the constant encouragement. You’ve provided us the support to try out a bold new idea with the potential for huge impact both on and off this planet. 

So far, we have fulfilled the many T-shirt, sticker, and poster Rewards. We’ve provided scores of memberships to The Planetary Society, codes for the video game Planetary Annihilation, and developed an educational rocket science board game in partnership with Xtronaut Enterprises. In addition to these Kickstarter-funded activities, we’ve also progressed on our company roadmap and built and launched two Arkyd-3 test spacecraft (the first didn’t make it very far off the ground!), and our two follow-on Arkyd-6 test satellites are finished and waiting for their next launch into space this summer. All this leads to the Arkyd 100 Space Telescope capability. 

When we closed the campaign in June of 2013, we were confident that the tremendous enthusiasm from around the world would translate into continued financial support outside of the Kickstarter community to move our idea forward… but, what we discovered was unfortunate. Aside from all the progress we made in the underlying technology, the follow-on interest from the business and educational sectors to expand the ARKYD campaign into a fully-supported mission did not exist as we had anticipated. We have explored and exhausted a variety of opportunities big and small for the financial backing necessary to complete the project. 

Due to the lack of necessary follow-on support, we are saddened to announce that we are unable to fulfill the “ARKYD: A Space Telescope for Everyone” campaign. While we regret we must wind-down the project, we are pleased that we can offer each of our 17,614 backers an immediate and FULL REFUND, with our sincere thanks for your longstanding support. 

We've never been stronger in pursuing our goal of prospecting and mining asteroids, and you can read a recent update about our progress here.

So what happens now? 

You may request your refund according to the following refund policy and notification of refund: 

Each ARKYD Kickstarter backer will receive an e-mail with a personalized refund link (do not share this link with anyone). Refund request submissions must be made to the company by following this personalized refund link. We have used the email you have currently have on file with Kickstarter, so if this is not correct, please reach out to us HERE

Once you receive your personalized refund email, follow the instructions to complete the refund form. The form must be completed accurately and in its entirety. The refund form will provide you with options to claim your refund either by check or through PayPal. Refunds may take up to thirty (30) days to process. We reserve the right to verify information contained on the refund request form. Requests that include illegible, missing, or erroneous information may be returned to you for correction, which may cause delay in the issuance of your refund. We reiterate that you will receive a FULL REFUND, and will not be charged for any transaction fees or pledge rewards you may have already received. We have you covered. 

You will have 45 days from Thursday May 26, 2016 to accurately and fully complete and submit to us your refund request form. We will not honor refund requests following the the deadline of Monday, 11 July 2016. Alternatively, you may mail your request form to us in hardcopy format to the following address: ATTN: ARKYD Kickstarter Refund, 6742 185TH AVE NE, Redmond, WA 98052. We are not responsible for lost or undeliverable mail. If you do not respond to this notification, as a courtesy we will make a reasonable effort to notify you of the refund offer. Ultimately, requesting a refund is your responsibility and we will make no further attempts to contact you following the deadline. 

It is with heavy heart that we share this news. The Kickstarter community is stellar and we continue to be inspired by your passion as we make our way into the Cosmos. One of the things we enjoy most in building technology to explore space is sharing that journey with others. You can rest assured we will continue to take you on our journey as we make our way to the asteroids and beyond. 

Sincerely, 

Chris Lewicki 

Your biggest fan & Chief Asteroid Miner, Planetary Resources, Inc.

Arkyd 3R Successfully Deployed from the International Space Station!

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For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.

A3R to Deploy This Week from ISS

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Hi Kickstarters,

Quick update for you all on some exciting developments happening THIS WEEK!

The Arkyd 3 Reflight technology demonstration spacecraft is in a queue and is set to deploy from the Kibo Airlock on the International Space Station in the next few days! This will mark the beginning of the A3R's 90 day mission in space to test its core technology for our prospecting missions and your ARKYD. 

Planetary Resources Team with Arkyd 3 Reflight, set to deploy from the ISS this week.
Planetary Resources Team with Arkyd 3 Reflight, set to deploy from the ISS this week.

We will confirm deployment and post photos here once Arkyd has been deployed into space. You can also follow us on twitter and facebook for updates, or track the hashtag #Arkyd

This is the next step in an already exciting year of progress for us. Next up is the Arkyd 6, which we are developing as we speak, and is set to launch later this year. 

To read up on the A3R's mission, click here. 

Lastly, for those who have inquired as to the timing of when to upload your selfie, we have not yet requested the images. But, we will pass along all the important details as we continue to develop the technology. In the meantime, send any questions to me via Kickstarter or to resources@planetaryresources.com, and I would be happy to answer your inquiry! 

Onward,

Caitlin O'Keefe

Community Foreman

Planetary Resources, Inc. 

Another Space Kickstarter Surpasses $1 Million!

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We are happy to announce that the LightSail Kickstarter from The Planetary Society has surpassed the $1 million mark, and has over 19,000 backers! 

It is thrilling to see another great SPACE oriented kickstarter meet success that is truly “out of this world”. 

We hope to see these numbers increase even more over the last three days of their campaign. 

Click here to learn more about their project, and become a backer before time runs out!

-Caitlin O'Keefe

Community Foreman

Planetary Resources, Inc. 

Vibration Testing Arkyd 6 at Planetary Resources

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To get anything into space these days, you must first launch it on a rocket. A simple trip to visualize, but the real ride to space is incredibly intense.

Have you ever seen a rocket launch? Have you ever HEARD a rocket launch? If so, you have definitely FELT a rocket launch. If you haven’t had the experience, you should make every effort to see one in person as it will forever change the way you think about getting to space. It sounds and feels something like a bomb going off continuously, which is an accurate description because a rocket launch is essentially a controlled explosion - and if you are going to space today, you are sitting on top of it!

A spacecraft takes a lot of energy to get going fast enough to get into space, thus, it requires a rocket producing a lot of thrust. Rocket engines burn massive amounts of incredibly high-energy fuel to create that immense thrust. The result is a controlled explosion blowing highly supersonic exhaust gases out of the rocket nozzle. Those gases generate unbelievable levels of vibro-acoustic energy as the multiple shock waves hammer against the surrounding atmosphere. A large amount of that energy also resonates directly into the spacecraft through the rocket’s structure as well as from the atmosphere hammering back wildly at the rocket.

During launch, a spacecraft experiences extreme vibration. Because of this severe and chaotic environment, we at Planetary Resources need to design our spacecraft to be able to withstand the forces of launch, so once our spacecraft reaches space and begins its mission, it works!

To ensure that our spacecraft works once it reaches space, we can simulate and test it in the launch environment here on Earth, by going through what’s called a random vibration test. Right now, we are going through these tests with our next technology demonstration spacecraft, the Arkyd 6, planned for launch in December. The Arkyd 6 has much of the core technology that will be essential to fulfill our asteroid prospecting missions, including a mid-wave infrared sensor, 2nd-generation avionics and power systems, multi-band communications, attitude determination and control.

Prior to test, we attach accelerometers to various components and locations on the spacecraft structure. These sensors measure the acceleration that the particular components are experiencing as a result of the launch vibration levels. We then take the spacecraft out of its safer, normal environment in the clean room, pack it up and drive it over to the testing facility. There, we place the spacecraft on a shaker plate and apply the vibration levels to that plate using a gigantic electrodynamic shaker that operates much like a big speaker. The random vibration signals are sent through the speaker’s massive coils and into the plate where the energy hammers into the test fixture and the spacecraft simulating the launch. It’s a violent series of events, and the shaker is capable of being worse than a launch, so we do take precautions to make sure we don’t accidentally break the spacecraft.

The test runs are a series of steps where each time we increase the level of vibration by 3 dBs, which is doubling the vibration power level from the previous run. We finally reach the full launch vibration levels where the spacecraft dwells in this chaos for a full 60 seconds. After the full level run, we rotate the spacecraft 90 degrees and repeat the whole process until we have shaken the spacecraft in all 3 primary directions X, Y, and Z to simulate the fully random nature of the launch event. Surviving this test set with functioning hardware is the only way we can be confident that the spacecraft can survive the vibrations during launch.

Between each test, we analyze the data gathered by the accelerometers that we attached to various system components. In some cases, the particular accelerometer will show the component vibrating the same or much less than the launch input levels. In some, far more terrifying cases (at least for the engineer) the system is amplifying the launch vibration levels and the component is vibrating much more than the input. The pre-test analysis helps us design the hardware for this possibility and predicts this behavior to an extent, but there’s nothing like a good test to tell us what’s actually happening to the spacecraft and its various subsystems.

With all this crucial data in hand, we take the spacecraft back to its cleanroom home for a full checkout. We begin analyzing the data and make any necessary adjustments in the flight hardware to ensure our Arkyd makes it safely through launch and on to its prospecting mission. After all of this, we breathe a sigh of relief…until the real launch day. And on that day we’ll be confident that it will be ready for the ride to space.

Peter Illsley, Principal Mechanical and Thermal Engineer

Planetary Resources