Luxembourg formally establishes space agency


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

The new colonial movement: Luxembourg this week formally established its space agency, along with a fund to back new commercial space companies.

Unlike traditional national space agencies, which support spacecraft missions and scientific research, the Luxembourg Space Agency will focus primarily on building up the country’s space industry as well as supporting education and workforce development.

Schneider noted that Luxembourg’s recent efforts, most notably the SpaceResources.lu project to attract companies working in the nascent space resources field, had led to 20 countries establishing a presence in the country. “All this is why it’s so important to me to launch today this Luxembourg Space Agency in order to professionalize our approach to this new community,” he said.

Serres said that the agency will work with a wide range of other organizations, both within the government and the private sector, to meet the agency’s goals. “The agency will be well-equipped to support industry in their daily challenges, and it leads to the most favorable environment for this sector to continue to grow,” he said, describing its four “strategic lines” as expertise, innovation, skills and funding.

That last item will include a new fund for supporting space companies. Schneider announced that the space agency will work with other government agencies and the private sector to establish the Luxembourg Space Fund, valued at 100 million euros ($116 million). The fund, according to a government statement, will “provide equity funding for new space companies with ground-breaking ideas and technology.”

Only part of the new fund will involve government money. “It will be a public-private partnership, where the government will take a share of 30 to 40 percent,” Schneider said.

The agency’s entire work force will be about 12 people, since its focus will be attracting private space companies to come to Luxembourg.

Share

5 comments

  • Localfluff

    The budget (of the total Fund) is a little larger than that of Sweden’s space agency (the majority of which goes to ESA), although Sweden’s GDP is 12 times larger than that of Luxembourg. Still, it’s only 0.19% of their GDP.

  • Steve Cooper

    This is almost as impressive as the Swiss Navy.

  • Steve Cooper: I think you misunderstand what Luxembourg is doing. I’ve detailed this on BtB in the past. Do a search. They treat their government tax funds as investment capital. Thus, they have absolutely no interest in building their own space “program.” Instead, they want to invest in space companies that are likely to bring a good return on the dollar to their tax-payers.

    It is a truly novel approach to government, and in many ways very smart.

  • Edward

    Luxembourg has long been friendly toward space businesses, being home to the world’s largest communication satellite operator, SES. Luxembourg passed policies that puts it among the world’s most commercial-space friendly countries, and last year the country started the SpaceResources.lu project, which acts much like a venture capitalist. Their new Space Agency seems to be an advancement on that concept.

    Luxembourg cannot get you into space, but it can give your space company a boost.

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180716-the-tiny-nation-leading-a-new-space-race

    There now are 10 space-mining companies (including ispace) legally domiciled in Luxembourg since the launch of the country’s space resources law in February 2016. This was fuelled by a fund worth $223m (200m euros/£176m). For these space ventures, the Moon is one of two primary targets being considered

  • R. Frank

    The funding planetary resources had, dried up.
    They are auctioning off their equipment.
    They were ready to begin mining but the technology to convert ice to hydrogen isn’t there yet.
    Solar panels don’t produce enough power. Yet.
    Robotics don’t do so good in space.
    They have the target asteroids but the technology ain’t there…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *