Asteroid-mining company Planetary Resources secured $21.1 million in Series A funding that will be used to deploy and operate Ceres, an Earth-observation business that features a commercial infrared and hyperspectral sensor platform to better understand and manage natural resources.
Ceres will leverage Planetary Resources’ Arkyd spacecraft to deliver on-demand intelligence of natural resources. Its mid-wave infrared sensor is the first commercial capability from space to offer thermographic mapping and night-imaging, and the hyperspectral sensor includes 40 color bands in the visible to near-infrared spectrum.
The constellation will provide global monitoring capabilities for multiple industries, including agriculture, oil and gas, water quality, financial intelligence and forestry. The system also can track toxic algae blooms, monitor global water quality and enable the detection of wildfires in their earliest stages.
“With Ceres, Planetary Resources has leapfrogged traditional imagers for monitoring Earth’s natural resources, creating far-ranging opportunity,” said Bryan Johnson, founder of OS Fund and board of director member at Planetary Resources. “It’s a seismic shift for the new space economy.”
With 10 satellites, the Ceres constellation is expected to provide weekly hyperspectral and mid-wave infrared data for any spot on Earth at lower costs than existing multispectral data.