Asteroid Mining: Development, Optics and Laser Skills

Sunrise from SpacePlanetary Resources’ plans to capture and mine asteroids could open up a modest number of jobs for developers and engineers in a variety of disciplines including guidance, flight control and optics.

The company’s founders have backgrounds in aeronautical engineering and commercial space flight, as well as experience with NASA’s Mars Rover projects. Co-founder Peter Diamandis and chief engineer Chris Lewicki were among a group of scientists and engineers that prepared a recent report for the Keck Institute of Space Studies on the feasibility of retrieving asteroids.

The company already has about two dozen engineers on board and hopes to launch its first spacecraft within 24 months, says the Verge. Though media reports of the announcement centered on the company’s goals, its website describes the “engineering and mission-planning expertise” it’s seeking. Indeed, MSNBC’s Alan Boyle says the company’s need for talent is the reason it’s going public with its plans now.

The company says its most pressing needs are in three areas:

  • Guidance, navigation, and control
  • Flight and ground software
  • Optical and laser systems

And:

We are incorporating recent innovations in commercial microelectronics, medical devices, and information technology in ways not traditionally used by robotic spacecraft…. Deep space exploration also presents specific challenges to spacecraft design. Critical to our success are advancements in the fields of collaborative exploration, deep space optical communications, and efficient micro-propulsion.

Other items it may find attractive: full life-cycle product experience, coding skills, manufacturing skills, debugging skills. If you can “create an interplanetary spacecraft trajectory to a celestial target,” that’s a plus.

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