Luxembourg has established itself as a European centre for space industry and for the past 15 years has worked in close partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA). In that time, Luxembourg has gone from being a leader in satellite communications to embracing the human and robotic exploration of the Solar System by setting up the space resources initiative, and ESRIC, the European Space Resources Innovation Centre, in collaboration with ESA.
By focusing on how to extract resources from the Moon and asteroids to use in space, Luxembourg has brought a whole new dynamism into its space sector. The plan now is for the country to concentrate on this space resource utilisation to develop an ‘in-space’ economy.
There are now around 50 space companies in Luxembourg. These include companies that build hardware and those that create downstream services from the data returned by various missions.
Luxembourg’s particular focus will be developing hardware such as 3D printers and services such as energy generation and food production that can support the lunar activities of ESA’s European Exploration Envelope(E3P) programme.
In the field of satellite communications, Luxembourg contributes to ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) programme by focusing on ‘Space for 5G’, ‘Space Systems for Safety and Security (4S)’ and ‘Optical Telecommunications – ScyLight’.
The country is also set to play a key role in current and future asteroid missions. For ESA’s Hera mission, Luxembourg is supporting the Juventas CubeSat, which will survey the binary asteroid Didymos and its moon, thereby contributing to the development of specific deep space and low-frequency radar expertise in Luxembourg.
In the longer term, Luxembourg is using its expertise in satellite communication to work with companies such as Deep Space Industries to support the development of a new radio system that will allow operators to cost-effectively communicate with and navigate spacecraft that are far from Earth.
Hera Arrives Visualization