Asteroid Institute, York Space Systems to Explore Low-Cost Space-Based Asteroid Tracking System

SILICON VALLEY, CA., May 10, 2018 (B612 Foundation PR)-– The Asteroid Institute, a program of the B612 Foundation, has announced a new collaboration with York Space Systems to explore a data-gathering constellation of satellites for a new asteroid tracking system. In addition, the Institute will join York’s innovative program with Metropolitan State University (MSU) of Denver, by engaging students to work on the project, providing both motivation and practical skills to train the next generation space industry workforce.

“We are tremendously impressed with York’s capabilities, facilities and engineering expertise to initiate this collaboration,” stated B612 President Danica Remy. “We are also highly supportive of their innovative enterprise business model, which integrates all segments of a space mission, from provision of the standardized bus through launch and mission operations. This allows an organization like the Asteroid Institute, to concentrate on developing special purpose instruments with partners and advanced data processing, while York takes responsibility for the spacecraft mission.”

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Asteroid Institute Announces Google Cloud, AGI as New Partners for ADAM Project

SILICON VALLEY, Calif., February 28, 2018 (B612 Foundation PR) — The Asteroid Institute today announced Google Cloud and AGI as new technology partners in the development of the Asteroid Decision Analysis and Mapping (ADAM) project. ADAM is being designed as a cloud-based platform to provide analytical tools to help scientists, world leaders, and citizens understand the unprecedented flood of asteroid discoveries expected within the coming decade.

The ADAM Cloud Platform will support transparent analysis of asteroid data with open and published algorithms. The fact that scientists worldwide will be able to build upon and extend the analytical tools will allow ADAM to act as a baseline for comparison and collaboration. ADAM will be used to assess threatening situations, identify and trade-off possible realistic courses of action and create actionable decision making data.

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B612 Foundation Forms Asteroid Institute

SILICON VALLEY, Calif. (B612 Foundation PR) — The B612 Foundation today announced the formation of a new science and technology institute dedicated to protecting Earth from asteroid impacts. Dr. Ed Lu, three time US astronaut and Co-founder of B612, will serve as Executive Director of the new B612 Asteroid Institute, collaborating with a team of planetary scientists and engineers from around the world to conduct research, technology development, and data analysis on asteroid detection and deflection.

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NASA Terminates Space Act Agreement With B612 Foundation

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NASA has terminated an unfunded Space Act Agreement with the B612 Foundation, a private organization whose goal is to launch a spacecraft called Sentinel that would conduct a comprehensive search for asteroids.

Its primary purpose was obtaining NASA technical consulting and agreement for B612 to use NASA tracking facilities for Sentinel after it was launched.  In return, B612 would keep NASA informed of the spacecraft’s technical characteristics and progress and deliver data from the spacecraft to the Minor Planet Center….

NASA spokesmen Dwayne Brown and Dave Steitz confirmed via email that NASA terminated the agreement with B612.  Steitz explained that B612 had not met an important milestone in the SAA — starting Sentinel’s development — and NASA therefore terminated the agreement because “due to limited resources, NASA can no longer afford to reserve funds” to support the project.  “NASA believes it is in the best interest of both parties to terminate this agreement but remains open to future opportunities to collaborate with the B612 Foundation,” he added.

B612 Vice President for Communications Diane Murphy also confirmed the termination, but said NASA had invited them to return to obtain another SAA when Sentinel’s launch date is closer.   She noted that “our timeline is dependent on our fundraising — and while that is going well – it is hard … and taking longer than we first anticipated.”   She provided a statement from Lu asserting that the “status of the SAA in no way changes the resolve of the B612 Foundation to move forward. … We will continue to work independently and together with NASA, the US Congress and others to see our goals realized.”

According to data compiled by Pro Publica, the foundation became tax exempt in July 2013. The foundation’s tax return for 2013, which is the most recent available, shows it received $1,618,005 in contributions that year while spending $1,556,227. Net assets at the end of the year totaled $195,931.

Foundation President Ed Lu received $240,000 in compensation in 2013. Secretary and Chief Operating Officer Danica Rema received $209,443 for the year. The tax return also lists an additional $271,277 in other salaries and wages. The return does not state who received this compensation. Almost half of it — $132,171 — is attributed to fund-raising expenses.

Asteroid Hunting Satellite Effort Floudering Due to Lack of Funds

b612foundationIn a setback for efforts to find giant space rocks that could kill us all, the B612 Foundation is not having much luck raising money for its asteroid-hunting Sentinel spacecraft.

Yet progress has been slow. The B612 Foundation raised donations of roughly $1.2 million in 2012 and $1.6 million in 2013 — far short of its annual goal of $30 million to $40 million. NASA says that Sentinel has also missed every development milestone laid out in the 2012 agreement. In a January statement to an advisory panel, NASA said that its “reliance on the private sector for a space-based NEO survey … is being re-examined”. NASA’s Lindley Johnson, director of the near-earth object programme, declined to speak to Nature, citing the ongoing discussions between the B612 Foundation and the agency…

If Sentinel receives substantial funding soon, it could launch by late 2019, says B612 Foundation chief executive and former astronaut Edward Lu. Even if NASA terminates its agreement with the foundation, he vows to keep the project going. “Believe me, I could do a lot of other things,” he says. “But I feel this is extremely important.”

Meanwhile, a group at NASA is pursuing a satellite of its own, which is competing with two dozen other proposals for funding.

NEOCam, meanwhile, would use an infrared telescope to search for asteroids from a vantage point between Earth and the Sun. In September, NASA will decide whether it is a finalist out of more than two dozen proposals being considered for launch by 2022 through the Discovery programme, which caps each mission’s cost at $450 million.

B612 Foundation Teams Up With Broken Bells

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MENLO PARK, CA / LOS ANGELES, CA (B612 PR) – Broken Bells are proud to announce an exciting partnership with the B612 Foundation beginning with the band’s April West Coast tour. During these dates, $1 from every ticket sold will be donated to the B612 Foundation to help fund their Sentinel Mission, one of the most important space missions for humanity—one that seeks to protect Earth while preparing for future exploration. More information pertaining to the B612 Foundation can be found below.

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B612 Foundation Adds New Members, Gains Financial Support

b612foundationMOUNTAIN VIEW, CA (Sept. 17, 2013, B612 PR) – The world’s first privately funded deep space telescope mission, the B612 Foundation’s SENTINEL MISSION, has announced new support and additions to its Board of Directors, Strategic Advisory Board and increased financial support keeping the mission on track to launch in July 2018.

“The third quarter of 2013 was successful for us in many ways, as we received both welcome financial support, including a seven figure contribution, as well as added another wave of highly successful individuals to our team: the Strategic Advisory Board, Founding Circle and Board of Directors,” said Dr. Ed Lu, Co-Founder and CEO of the B612 Foundation. “These are the forward thinkers who are stepping up to ensure the security of our planet. We are very appreciative.”

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B612 Foundation’s Sentinel Telescope Will Cost $450 Million

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Dan Leone at Space News has a great update on plans by the B612 Foundation to launch its $450 million Sentinel asteroid-hunting telescope:

B612 plans to launch Sentinel in 2017 or 2018 aboard a Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Falcon 9 rocket, possibly as a secondary payload, according to Troeltzsch.

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B612, Ball Aerospace Sign Agreement for Sentinel Imaging Sensors

BOULDER, Colo. (Ball PR) — Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. and the non-profit B612 Foundation have signed a contract for Ball to create prototype infrared imaging sensors for the Sentinel Mission, a deep space mission to protect Earth by providing early warning of threatening asteroids. Ball’s detector design characterization initiates the first phase of developing Sentinel’s 20-inch diameter, space-based infrared telescope.

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B612 Foundation Advances Asteroid Mission

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Oct. 11, 2012 (B612 PR) — The B612 Foundation today announced the formation and initial findings of its Sentinel Special Review Team (SSRT) to aid B612 in building the world’s first privately funded deep space mission to protect Earth by providing early warning of threatening asteroids.

The SSRT will provide technical advice and assistance during the development and operations of the Sentinel Space Telescope mission.  Members include scientists and aerospace experts independently selected by the B612 Sentinel leadership, and members assigned by NASA, which is providing technical support through a Space Act Agreement.

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B612 Foundation Get Support for Asteroid Hunting Spacecraft

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, September 19, 2012 (B612 PR) – The world’s first privately funded deep space mission – SENTINEL – received major support this week from prominent members of the business and financial community who joined the B612 Foundation’s Founding Circle. Founding Circle Members not only contribute substantial funding to the mission, but also pledge continued support in multiple areas of finance, technology and science.

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Sentinel Overview and Specifications


Sentinel Overview

Sentinel is a space-based infrared (IR) survey mission to discover and catalog 90 percent of the asteroids larger than 140 meters in Earth’s region of the solar system. The mission should also discover a significant number of smaller asteroids down to a diameter of 30 meters. Sentinel will be launched into a Venus-like orbit about the sun which significantly improves the efficiency of asteroid discovery during its 5.5 year mission.

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B612’s Sentinel Telescope to Scan Heavens for Earth Crossing Asteroids

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (B612 PR) – In a press conference at the California Academy of Sciences Thursday morning, the B612 Foundation unveiled its plans to build, launch, and operate the first privately funded deep space mission – SENTINEL – a space telescope to be placed in orbit around the Sun, ranging up to 170 million miles from Earth, for a mission of discovery and mapping. The Foundation leadership and technical team include some of the most experienced professionals in the world to lead this effort.

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B612 Foundation to Announce First Privately Funded Deep Space Mission

B612 FOUNDATION TO ANNOUNCE
FIRST PRIVATELY FUNDED DEEP SPACE MISSION

Who: The B612 Foundation

What: Press Conference to Launch the B612 Foundation and Sentinel Space Telescope Mission-the first privately funded deep space mission.

When: Thursday, June 28, 2012 — 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM (PT)

Where: Morrison Planetarium, California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA, in Golden Gate Park. (Pay Parking in CA Academy Garage)

Announcement: On June 28, 2012, the B612 Foundation will announce its plans to build, operate and launch the world’s first privately funded deep space mission–a space telescope to be placed in orbit around the Sun. We will create the first comprehensive dynamic map of our inner solar system showing the current and future locations and trajectories of Earth-crossing asteroids, paving the way to protect the Earth from future impacts and opening up the Solar System to future exploration.

Speakers at the June 28 Press Conference:

  • Ed Lu, Chairman & CEO,former Space Shuttle/ISS/Soyuz Astronaut
  • Rusty Schweickart, Chairman Emeritus,Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 9
  • Scott Hubbard, Project Architect,Stanford University, former Dir., NASA Ames
  • Harold Reitsema, Mission Director,former Dir. Science Mission Dev., Ball Aerospace

The B612 Foundation (www.b612foundation.org) aims to build, launch, and operate the world’s first privately funded deep space telescope mission to create the first comprehensive dynamic map of our inner solar system, identifying the current and future locations and trajectories of Earth crossing asteroids. Mapping the great unknown of the inner solar system is the first step to opening up this next frontier. The B612 Foundation believes that humanity can harness the power of science and technology to protect the future of civilization on this planet, while extending our reach into the solar system.