U.S. companies pursuing the goal of asteroid mining have an unlikely champion: Luxembourg.
The tiny European nation, which attracted jobs, technology and investment with its early support of the commercial satellite communications industry, is offering funding, legal and regulatory assistance to asteroid miners. Luxembourg named its initiative to become a hub of activity for space mining SpaceResources.lu.
Luxembourg announced plans in June to invest 200 million Euros in asteroid mining technology and companies working in Luxembourg. Both Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries are moving work there.
Planetary Resources announced in June that the Luxembourg government is considering making a direct capital investment in the asteroid mining company through the country’s national bank SNCI.
Through SNCI, Luxembourg also is supporting Deep Space Industries’ Prospector-X mission to send a small experimental satellite into low Earth orbit in 2017 to test advanced technologies.
Why is Luxembourg betting on asteroid mining? Deputy Prime Minister Étienne Schneider of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg’s Ministry of the Economy, explains.
Why did Luxembourg establish SpaceResources.lu?
Space is one of the priority sectors that Luxembourg has constantly promoted since its entry into the space business more than 35 years ago. One of the country’s biggest successes in space was the government-supported SES created in 1985, which is today the largest commercial satellite operator in the world.
In the same spirit, we want to replicate this success story in the space resources industry, with active participation of key stakeholders. By presenting an overall strategy to be implemented progressively for the exploration and commercial utilization of resources from Near Earth Objects, such as asteroids, Luxembourg once again opts for space as a key high-tech sector for the country.
Are you eager to bring high technology jobs to the Grand Duchy or are you hoping for a big payoff in a decade or two if these ventures succeed in mining asteroids?
Our aim is to attract space research activities and technological capabilities to Luxembourg, which is home to an increasingly important space sector as part of our continuous efforts to diversify the national economy. On the one side, Luxembourg offers an attractive overall framework for space resource utilization-related activities, including but not limited to the legal and regulatory regime. On the other side, companies like Planetary Resources or DSI established legal entities in the Grand Duchy. Their teams will bring in a wealth of knowledge and experience and will join the existing space sector in Luxembourg. By starting to put all this together, we will make the SpaceResources.lu initiative a success.
Has Luxembourg established agreements with asteroid mining companies other than Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries. If so, what companies?
Both Planetary Resources and DSI share with the government the pioneering vision that the exploration and utilization of resources will lead to a thriving new space economy and support the path of human expansion into our solar system. These two companies build up economic and technological substance in Luxembourg. We are in close contact with other companies that have demonstrated their interest in joining them.