Larry Page-backed asteroid mining company launches CubeSat with experimental water detection tech

The key technology being tested during this flight is the mid-wave infrared imager, the company said. It’s a commercial sensor that collects pixel-level data using integrated custom optics to become the first MWIR instrument used in space. The sensor technology is at the heart of the company’s plans to develop high-powered water detection technology, which will be used in the next phase of the company’s Arkyd platform.

Arkyd-6 will also test other technologies, including power generation, altitude determination, instrument operation and two-way communication.

The craft itself is autonomous, but will be monitored by Planetary Resources’ mission control to ensure that everything is working correctly.

“The success of the Arkyd-6 will validate and inform the design and engineering philosophies we have embraced since the beginning of this innovative project,” said Chris Lewicki, president and chief executive of Planetary Resources, in a statement. “We will continue to employ these methods through the development of the Arkyd-301 and beyond as we progress toward our Space Resource Exploration Mission.”

Featured Image: Planetary Resources

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