B612 Official Statement to NASA Following Canceled Space Agreement Act
The goal of the B612 Foundation is to protect the Earth from Asteroid impacts. We remain strongly committed to achieving this goal.
Asteroids like the one that struck in Tunguska in 1908 (45 meters) are large enough to cause enormous damage and loss of life. We have the technology and know-how to provide both early detection and prevention of asteroid impacts of this size and larger (40-140 meters). This is the only major natural disaster we know how to prevent and it is our obligation to humanity to insure these safeguards.
The combination of capabilities provided by the Sentinel Space Telescope, together with the currently under construction land-based Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), provides the optimal solution to asteroid defense: spotting in advance the great majority of asteroids should they be on a collision course with Earth. We strongly support the continuation of both missions and resolve to work together.
In June 2012, the B612 entered into a Non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement with NASA. This provided for future use of the Deep Space Network for transmission of data from the Sentinel spacecraft to ground stations and a select board of NASA experts to collaborate with the senior experts of the Sentinel Mission. NASA has welcomed the B612 to come back to the agency at the appropriate future time, as NASA’s contributions become most important once we are closer to launch.
The status of the SAA in no way changes the resolve of the B612 to move forward. Timelines for construction and completion of Sentinel have always been tied to fundraising and will continue to be. Funding for large private space projects has historically been difficult – both to secure and to predict when full funding will occur. Sentinel is no different. We have the A-team in place to build and operate the Sentinel Mission and have made strong technical progress in the past three years with the funding we have secured. We will continue to work independently and together with NASA, the US Congress and others to see our goals realized.
Quotes provided to the press:
“Our goal since the beginning has been to protect the Earth from Asteroid Impacts. Asteroids like the one that struck in Tunguska (45 meters) are large enough to cause enormous damage, and the combination of Sentinel together with the currently under construction LSST will be able to spot in advance the great majority of asteroids larger than this should they be on a collision course with Earth. We will continue to push for Sentinel because of its critical capabilities, and are open to working with NASA for communications services at the appropriate time.
The status of the SAA in no way changes the resolve of the B612 to move forward. Funding for large private space projects has historically been difficult to predict, and Sentinel is no different. We have made strong technical progress in the past 3 years and will continue to work independently and together with NASA, the US Congress and others to move forward.”
– Ed Lu, CEO of B612 Foundation (October 2, 2015)