Today the Luxembourg government announced it’s going into the asteroid mining business. It plans to provide incentives and a favorable regulatory climate to encourage the industry to flourish in the small country. The goal is to become the European hub of the asteroid mining sector. According to its related website, spaceresources.lu, Luxembourg is “the first European country to announce its intention to set out a formal legal framework which ensures that private operators working in space can be confident about their rights to the resources they extract.”
In December I wrote a post about the US Space Act being made into law, which will enable US companies to do business in space, specifically in asteroid mining. Clearly Luxembourg wants to join the show. Creating a favorable climate for the fledgling industry is just one way the country plans to attract business interest. It will also directly invest in research and development projects, and potentially directly invest in companies based there.
“The SpaceResources.lu initiative will nurture an exciting and entirely new space industry. This industry will offer unprecedented access to mineral resources to be used essentially in Earth-orbit and beyond. The aim is to stimulate economic growth on Earth and offer new horizons in space exploration,” according to the web site.
“Our aim is to open access to a wealth of previously unexplored mineral resources on lifeless rocks hurling through space, without damaging natural habitats. We will support the long-term economic development of new, innovative activities in the space and satellite industries as a key high-tech sector for Luxembourg. At first, our aim is to carry out research in this area, which at a later stage can lead to more concrete activities in space,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Étienne Schneider.
Luxembourg is already home to satellite operator SES, and a host of US companies, including Deep Space Industries, SpaceX, and Planetary Resources are in talks with the country. Deep Space Industries has already opened a subsidiary there.
“Our R&D system gives me the opportunity to reimburse 45 percent of the company’s R&D investment,” Schneider said. “It’s quite attractive for international companies to do their R&D in Luxembourg.
Personally, I see the momentum in this new industry as very promising. This announcement and Luxembourg’s investment in research and development is a great step forward in the endeavor to boost Earth’s resources by harvesting asteroids.
Photo credit: Deep Space Industries Promotional Video