Luxembourg launches business-focused national space agency
(12 September 2018 - Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy) The Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) officially launched operations today with the goal of promoting the further economic development of the Grand Duchy’s space industry by attracting businesses, developing human resources, providing innovative financial solutions and supporting educational and research infrastructure.
Under the authority of the Ministry of the Economy, the agency is partnering with leading national academic, research and business organisations and communities as well as other public institutions within Luxembourg’s extensive ecosystem of public- and private-sector stakeholders.
(left to right) : Étienne Schneider, Deputy Prime minister, Minister of the Economy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg ; Marc Serres, CEO of the Luxembourg Space Agency (courtesy: Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy)
For more than three decades, Luxembourg has been at the forefront of commercial and co-operative initiatives that have shaped a vibrant space economy. Its greatest success has been the creation in 1985 of the government-supported SES (Société Européenne des Satellites), today the world’s largest commercial satellite operator. Further space-related services and businesses have developed alongside SES, and today commercial space activity accounts for nearly 2% of GDP, among the highest ratios in Europe.
In 2005, Luxembourg joined the European Space Agency (ESA) as a full member, laying the foundation for participation by the Grand Duchy’s companies in ESA R&D programmes and space exploration projects. The most recent step by the Ministry of the Economy was the launch in 2016 of the SpaceResources.lu initiative, positioning the country as a pioneer in the exploration and utilisation of space resources as a step toward the in-space economy of the future.
To fund space innovation, the Luxembourg Space Agency is establishing with other partners a venture capital vehicle to be established as a reserved alternative investment fund, with financial backing from the public sector as well as private investors. The Luxembourg Space Fund targets an initial 100 million EUR in capital, its goal is to provide equity funding for new space companies with ground-breaking ideas and technology.
Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, Étienne Schneider, says: “Building on Luxembourg’s longstanding support for the space industry through a combination of policy, programmes and funding, the agency will further encourage innovation-driven space entrepreneurship and promote this country as Europe’s platform for commercial space development and a home for cutting-edge industries. Luxembourg is ready to welcome, support and assist the development of space industry players that can move forward together.”
ESA Director General Jan Wörner says: “I congratulate Luxembourg on this very important step in its space history. With its wide range of services and expertise, ESA is continuing its strong co-operation with the Grand Duchy. Collaboration between the Luxembourg Space Agency and ESA can be a very good opportunity for Europe by pooling our capabilities in a network of space agencies that embodies the European ideal in space.”