Luxembourg wants to benefit from its advantage of being a 'first mover' through the exploitation of asteroids. In 2017, the Luxembourgish government introduced a legal framework offering legal security to owners of resources from outer space, with a view to becoming a European hub for the use and exploitation of space resources.
Luxembourg, a European aerospace hub
As the home of the number one satellite operator in the world - the European Society of Satellites ('SES') - the Grand Duchy has imposed itself as the main actor in aerospace for over 30 years. In 2018, Luxembourg created its own space agency - the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) in order to remain at the cutting edge of the latest mining operation developments.
The LSA emphasizes commercial development and the creation of economic value and jobs. Dynamic enterprises such as Euro-Composites, Gradel, Hitec and Luxspace contribute to the creation of a real ecosystem. As a result, more and more SMEs active in space technologies and in particular the exploitation of asteroids are settling in Luxembourg. Today, Luxembourg's space industry represents 4% of the GDP and over 500 high-level jobs, seven research centres and over 20 specialist companies.
Exploitation of Near Earth Objects, how and why?
Did you know that space missions are an enormous waste of the planet's resources? However, these resources are also available on Near Earth Objects (NEO). Thanks to technological advancements, it is possible to use such resources and even to repatriate rare soils from space. It represents a huge potential and significantly reduces the costs of space missions!
Having recognised this opportunity early on, Luxembourg developed the SpaceResources.lu in 2016. The initiative is aimed at the creation of a favourable legal and judicial environment for private businesses. The law on the exploitation and use of space resources that was entered into force on 24 July 2017, greatly facilitates the sector's development and offers judicial security regarding entitlement to mineral resources gathered in space, which complies with international law. The law has been formulated in a way as to specifically grant companies the right to extract resources, such as minerals, water and other resources, in particular on asteroids.
The law does not create or imply any sovereignty over a territory or celestial body, and only refers to the appropriation of space resources. Were you aware that such a law is the first of its kind in Europe and only existed in the United States so far?
Do you need help to get into the business?
Many competent partners are at your disposal to welcome you and fund your R&D proejcts in the field:
The Luxembourg Space Cluster, which brings together public and private organisations in the space sector in the Grand Duchy;
The Luxembourg Space Agency, which manages the SpaceResources.lu initiative;
Luxinnovation, the Grand Duchy's agency for the promotion of innovation and research, which offers companies of all sizes a wide range of services free of charge;
The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is expert in research and development in the field of nanomaterials, nanotechnologies and services based on satellite data;
The University of Luxembourg and its Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT);
The European Space Agency (ESA), the established European authority on space matters.