Resources Development Administration (RDA)
The Resources Development Administration, or RDA, is the largest single non-governmental organization in human space. Its power is such that it outmatches most Earth governments in wealth, political influence, and military capability. Pandora, a moon in the Alpha Centauri system, was being mined by the RDA for a mineral called unobtanium, a valuable super-conductor. The mining methods employed caused serious environmental damage, which angered the Moon’s native sentient race, the Na’vi, whose beliefs hold nature sacred. To deal with the Na’vi, the RDA hired mercenaries to fight them, and soon had a full military force. The scientists who came to Pandora to study its ecology in the hopes of finding a solution to restore Earth’s nearly depleted ecosystem wanted to work with the Na’vi, much to the RDA’s chagrin. The RDA decided to allow them to stay and created the Avatar program, to allow a selected group of scientists to operate biological bodies with both Human and Na’vi DNA.
The unobtanium mine on Pandora is the most distant industrial operation from Earth and the only source of unobtanium so far developed. Unobtanium ore is excavated from three open-cast pits, each located over major lodes of unobtanium detected in preliminary surveys of Pandora by specialized probe devices. Closer inspection by an orbiting ISV revealed that there are many deposits of unobtanium on Pandora, some of which are even richer than that at ESM 01. Excavation has been carried out with standard fusion-electric powered mining equipment modified with sealed operator cockpits and atmosphere filtration units. A typical mining cycle involves placing chemical charges above an ore deposit using satellite-positioned drill trucks, detonating the charges to loosen the overburden, then removing the overburden with excavators, robodozers, and dump trucks. After the ore has been exposed it is carefully removed with excavators and trucks; if the ore is pure enough to spontaneously levitate special belt diggers feeding into covered trucks are used instead.
“You are not in Kansas anymore. You are on Pandora, ladies and gentlemen.”
The company’s early expeditions to Pandora were seen as a colossal risk; the construction of the ISV Venture Star alone put an enormous strain on capital resources. But with exclusive mining rights to Unobtanium ($20 million per kilogram raw and $40 million processed), and potential profits from countervirals, biofuels, and cosmetics, the enormous capital investment has paid off.
Profit is the goal. Blue-Monkey are the enemies.
Unfortunately, the RDA’s environmentally harmful mining operations and the RDA SecOps’ assault on the Omaticaya Hometree led to a war between the RDA and the Na’vi that ended with the RDA being driven off Pandora; whether they will return or not is still to be seen.