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planetaryresourcesJust a few months after partnering with the nation’s largest engineering firm, Bellevue-based asteroid-mining company Planetary Resources announced a new investment from a 3D printing giant.

3D Systems, a South Carolina-based manufacturer of 3D printing products, is making an undisclosed investment in Planetary to help spur development of the company’s Arykd-100 spacecraft. This comes after Bechtel Corporation, the largest construction and engineering company in the U.S., announced a partnership with Planetary in April.

Founded in 2009, Planetary is already backed by some of the biggest names in technology and aerospace and plans to send its Arkyd spacecraft into orbit to ultimately swarm asteroids to mine natural resources like water and platinum group metals.

3dsystemslogoPlanetary will take advantage of 3D Systems’ technology to increase functionality and decrease the production costs its Arkyd spacecraft, which could be sent up into low-Earth orbit in less than a year.

“In success, we will create the smartphone of spacecraft and transform what has been an old-style, labor-intensive process, into something very scalable and affordable that will democratize access to space, the data collected from space and off-Earth resources for scientists and the public,” Avi Reichental, CEO of 3D Systems, said in a press release.

Meanwhile, Planetary is close to wrapping up its Kickstarter campaign for the world’s first crowdfunded, public use space telescope. The company has raised more than $1.2 million already with three days to go, as more than 14,000 backers have pitched in to launch a customized version of the company’s Arkyd-100 robot spaceship with an external camera into near-Earth orbit. For $25, backers can order a personal image of themselves that Planetary will capture with Earth in the background.

Previously on GeekWire: Asteroid-mining company raises $1M for world’s first crowdfunded space telescope

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