A Memorandum of Cooperation to further commit to strengthening cooperation in the field of space resources and innovation was signed by Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider and ESA Director General ESA Jan Wörner.
Following the establishment of the SpaceResources.lu initiative in 2016 to promote and develop the research, economic and legal aspects of space resources, ESA and the Luxembourg Space Agency have been working together to explore opportunities for cooperation and have identified common objectives for research and development.
The Luxembourg Space Agency is establishing the European Space Resources Innovation Centre, to create additional opportunities for European and international innovation. Its initial focus is on space resource extraction, processing and manufacturing to advance sustainable space exploration.
The Memorandum signed at ESA’s Ministerial Council Space19+ in Seville, Spain, sees ESA join the Space Resources Innovation Centre as a strategic partner, broadening the scope of the activities started under the spaceresources.lu initiative and giving it a more European character.
A common goal
The cost of launching people and materials into space and the lack of an established, affordable means of resupplying essentials such as fuel and life support is currently a major barrier to sustainable space exploration.
Overcoming these challenges, by developing technology that turns resources found in space into oxygen and water, fuel or building materials will open up new opportunities for Europe’s exploration of the Solar System, and provide new business opportunities, as well as benefits for communities on Earth.
ESA is focused on in situ resource utilisation to support sustainable exploration of our Solar System. As we look to take our next steps to the Moon and Mars, ESA sees in situ resource utilisation as an enabling capability for sustaining human operations.
The agency has already made significant progress in this area by developing the ESA Strategy for Space Resources that implements a number of ground-based research, technology and mission definition activities, using in situ resources for sustainable space exploration.
Together with ESA, the Luxembourg Space Agency will set up the facilities that will allow ground-based research on space resources for both public and private researchers from all over Europe, establishing the key European centre for space resources utilisation.
The scope of the cooperation will include research, business support and incubation, knowledge management and competence concentration and community management.