From left: Luxembourg economy minister Etienne Schneider, LSA CEO Marc Serres, Nasa Administrator James. F. Bridenstine, and US ambassador to Luxembourg Randy Evans
Luxembourg’s Space Agency (LSA) is to strengthen collaborations with US space actors on the commercial use of space after signing a joint statement on Tuesday.
A press release from the agency explained that the statement signed between Nasa and LSA identified future areas for potential collaboration, including space applications, space exploration and utilisation. The document, which was signed at the 70th international astronautical congress in Washington DC, touches on the sustainable use of space resources, as well as sharing of scientific data and education.
“The agencies will continue to explore these areas through technical and programmatic discussions with the objective of identifying potential collaboration. In parallel, NASA and LSA intend to pursue a Framework Agreement as a means of facilitating future collaboration between the two agencies,” the press release explained.
The paper follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the governments of the US and Luxembourg in May 2019, designating Nasa and the LSA to exchange information about potential collaborations.
It wasn’t the only agreement reached during the congress. Also on Tuesday, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) signed a letter of intent to cooperate with the LSA on space research activities, focusing in particular on navigation, satellite communications, space exploration and space resources.
This document forms part of Luxembourg’s goal to create an interdisciplinary research centre to develop a sustainable industry based around commercial space resource utilisation.
LSA CEO Marc Serres; DLR chairmanDr. Pascale Ehrenfreund; economy minister Étienne Schneider (LSAP) DLR space research and technology executive board member Dr. Hansjörg Dittus. Photo: Luxembourg Space Agency
“The German Aerospace Center has already been a long-standing partner. Together with the DLR and other partners, we want to further develop research activities in areas such as the utilisation of space resources for the benefit of humankind,” LSA CEO Marc Serres said.
Luxembourg’s space activities can be traced back to the founding of satellite operator SES in 1985. It formally framed its space ambitions when, in 2016, the government launched the Spaceresources.lu initiative aimed at creating an eco-system of companies in Luxembourg working on space resource extraction and utilisation.
This it followed with the creation of the LSA in September 2018 and the 2017 Luxembourg Space Resources Act, a legal framework establishing the ownership rights of resources extracted in space, through an accreditation and licensing regime issued to companies with registered offices in Luxembourg.