A US private organisation called the B612 Foundation announced that it will build, launch, and operate the world’s first privately funded deep space telescope mission to map the inner solar system and identify Earth crossing asteroids. The Sentinel Infra-red space telescope will be placed in orbit around the Sun at circa 170 million miles from Earth, on a five and half year mission. The spacecraft is to be built by the satellite maker, Ball Aerospace, located in Boulder, Colorado and will consist of 20 inch diameter infrared telescope with the launch taking place in 2017-2018 on a probably Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The trajectory is likely to use a gravitational sling shot trajectory using the planet Venus.
Sentinel will scan the entire night half of the sky every 26 days. As part of the B612 Foundation-NASASpace Act Agreement of June 2012, NASA JPL (NEO Center). will conduct a comprehensive hazard analysis, making orbit determinations and threat assessments for the asteroids found. The B612 foundation has former NASA Apollo astronaut, Rusty Schweickar,t as its emeritus chairman.