November 2016 photo shows Planetary Resources CEO Chris Lewicki with Luxembourg economy minister Etienne Schneider
Photo: Luxembourg economy ministry
American-based spatial firm Planetary Resources, in which the Luxembourg State is a shareholder, is holding a fire sale to replenish its coffers.
According to GeekWire, the ailing firm, based in Redmond, Washington, announced plans to auction off numerically controlled machine tools, 3D printers and laptops from 21-28 August to provide much-needed finance.
It faced financial difficulties since the start of the year and failed to convince investors to pursue its project in exploiting space resources, according to Paperjam.
In June 2016, Planetary Resources CEO Chris Lewicki was quoted by the French media as saying he would create around 50 jobs in Luxembourg by 2020.
The firm was one of the first to join the Spaceresources.lu initiative and benefited from an investment and cooperation agreement from Luxembourg worth €25m. According to Paperjam, €13.7 m of this funding has already been released by Saam Luxembourg, a company owned by SNCI.
GeekWire estimates the firm raised around $50 m (€43.6 m). But the finance was not enough to reach its goal of extracting water from asteroids to transform it into fuel for rockets already in space.
Planetary Resources have, instead, turned its focus to the highly competitive market of mini Earth observation satellites. At the time of publishing, the Luxembourg government had not yet commented on its future plans in relation to the company.