Although the long-term goal of the company is to mine asteroids, its initial plans call for developing a market for small (30–50 kg) cost-reduced space telescopes for both Earth observation and astronomy. These spacecraft would employ a laser-optical system for ground communications, reducing payload bulk and mass compared to conventional RF antennae. The deployment of such orbital telescopes is envisioned as the first step forward in the company's asteroid mining ambitions. The same telescope satellite capabilities that Planetary Resources hopes to sell to customers can be used to survey and intensively examine near-earth asteroids. Though some sources in the company say Arkyd Astronautics is the same company under a new name, Eric Anderson (formerly of Space Adventures), a co-founder, has also said that Arkyd has become a wholly owned subsidiary.
The investors behind Planetary Resources are a group of notable names, including Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt and film director James Cameron.