Planetary Resources is the company that famously plans to one-day mine asteroids for precious metals and other materials. The company has recently unveiled a full-scale prototype of its Arkyd-100 space telescope. The company plans to use these small space telescopes for its Arkyd Series prospecting missions.
The company says that one of the decisions it made was to build as much as possible in-house. Planetary Resources says that the ability to build things in-house will allow it to mass produce its spacecraft at extremely low cost. The company also points out that the space telescope is incredibly small.
As you can see in the photograph above, the space telescope is significantly smaller than other space telescopes such as the Hubble. Planetary Resources says that the small size of the space telescope will cut the cost of deep space missions below anything we are accustomed to. The space telescope weighs 11 kg and has deployable solar arrays.
The space telescope also has an integrated avionics bay, and instrument sensor package, and a optical assembly. The company also says that it is making significant developments in flight software. The company promises that its tiny space telescope will be the most advanced spacecraft per kilogram that exists today. The manufacturer is using computer-controlled machines to create single piece parts to serve as major structural elements of its telescope.
[via Planetary Resources]