The space industry is a good example of Luxembourg’s commitment to diversify and innovate in advanced technologies.
In February 2016, Luxembourg launched as a first in Europe a framework for the future use of space resources.
The SpaceResources.lu initiative nurtures an exciting and entirely new space industry. It stimulates technological development and economic growth and offers new horizons in space exploration. Key steps are the development of a legal and regulatory framework providing certainty about the future ownership of mineral resources extracted from Near Earth Objects (NEO’s) such as asteroids. Luxembourg also intends to invest in relevant R&D projects and will consider taking investment positions in companies working in this field.
The sector's roots go back to the late 1970s with various initiatives that led to the creation of Société Européenne des Satellites in 1985, better known as SES, a landmark for satellite-based telecommunications and one of the two biggest satellite operators in the world.
The Government requested Luxembourg’s entry to the European Space Agency (ESA) to power the growth of this dynamic sector. From 2012 until the end of 2016, Luxembourg is co-president of the ESA, cementing its leading role within the Agency.
The industry today encompasses 25 companies and four research organisations covering various sectors that include:
- The space segment, manufacturing of satellite structures (Euro-Composites), integration of micro-satellites (Luxspace), electric propulsion for satellites (ELWING EUROPE);
- The ground segment with the procurement of ground stations (SES TechCom and HITEC Luxembourg), mechanical and electrical ground support equipment (GRADEL and SES TechCom), communication networks (Post Luxembourg and Telindus);
- The satellite service segment comprising ground teleport services (SES and Post Luxembourg), in-orbit satellite operations (SES) and satellite broadband services (SES TechCom).