Luxembourg, pioneer of Space mining
The Luxembourgish economic landscape has a predominant financial sector. To diversify its economy, in 1985, the Grand-Duchy invested in a satellite company called SES, now one of the biggest satellite companies worldwide.
The Minister of Economy, Étienne Schneider, has been spearheading the Governments efforts to recreate its celestial success. The same objective : a more diverse and stable “economy”. A new idea : Space mining.
Space mining is the gathering of rare materials on celestial bodies, like the moon or asteroids. The targets are Near-Earth-Objects (NEO’s) containing rare resources, like metals or gas. Space mining isn’t possible as of yet, the technology which would allow humans to gather resources in space is still in the making. That’s exactly where the Government saw the opportunity to invest in. Luxembourg’s ministry of economy created programs which offer financial help, provided infrastructure and the necessary legal framework. The presence of the investor’s in the small European country, along with the aforementioned elements make of Luxembourg a perfect hotbed to further the growth of companies contributing to the development of “space mining technology”.
Luxembourg is trying to become the centre of humanity’s expanse to space. Plans to create a new space research hub, a treaty of cooperation with Belgium, talks and negotiations with the United States and Russia, as well as Mr. Schneider’s recent visits to the silicon valley and Cape Canaveral show Luxembourg’s seriousness in becoming the world’s Space mining capital.
The Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) is coordinating the government’s efforts to develop the space sector, which is growing in importance. In contrary to other space agencies, the LSA’s objective is not to conduct research or launch satellites or other objects into space. The LSA is an administrative tool whose functions consist of assigning funding, increasing economic growth and creating jobs.
Space mining is often considered to be a science fiction fantasy and Luxembourg’s space endeavours are the first steps on a road towards human ventures in gathering resources outside of the orbit. For the Government it is simply an investment which is supposed to assure Luxembourg’s economic diversity and growth.