On 18 October 2019, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Étienne Schneider announced that Luxembourg will create a space resources research centre. The centre will be established by the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) and its partners. As part of the SpaceResources.lu initiative, it will be devoted to scientific research on the extraction, processing and use of resources available in space such as water and regolith.
From research to innovation centre
The establishment of the Space Resources Research Centre is a step forward in LSA’s work to encourage R&D in fields relevant to the exploration and utilisation of space resources. The objective is to foster the development of new capabilities and technologies in close collaboration with the space industry. The next phase will be to expand the centre towards a larger Space Resources Innovation Centre with a European and international dimension. It will also have additional functions such as business support, community and knowledge management.
Space resources collaboration with ESA
The creation of the centre was announced by Minister Schneider during his visit to the Euroepan Astronaut Centre in Köln. Ever since the launch of SpaceResources.lu in 2016, the European Space Agency (ESA) and LSA have been working together to explore the opportunities for international cooperation in the field of space resources. The two agencies have identified common R&D objectives and a range of cooperation activities such as joint studies and the organisation of events.
ESA and LSA have also identified several possible areas of cooperation:
- Research: Ground-based research and the advancement of technologies used for activities such as prospecting, extracting, refining and storing space resources
- Business incubation: Evaluation of the space resources value chain, mapping and identification of key players at the European and global level, a study to better understand the economics of, and markets for, space resources, as well as new partnerships with primarily non-space industry
- Knowledge management: Monitoring of the scientific, technology, finance and legal progress, establishment of knowledge management and identification of knowledge gaps and new needs
- Community management: Fostering broad collaborations with European academic and research institutes housing key expertise in relevant fields
Photo: ©Luxembourg Space Agency