It was about six months ago that we rambled about the space plans of Luxembourg. Actually, about the space mining aims of Luxembourg. Well, as I suspected, it is something more that just words. Few days ago, indeed, the Grand Duchy’s prince, princess and deputy prime minister were in US to meet with NASA officials, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors.
A small step (in the Apollo fashion), but a step. And possibly, in the right direction.
The idea remains the one of the SpaceResources.lu, i.e. to extract valuable materials from asteroids. The endeavour is full of issues, of various nature: financial, regulatory, legal and, of course, technical. The meeting was focussed on all of these topics, but, in particular, Luxembourg sees in this opportunity the chance of making business to grow the in-house market and know-how.
For U.S. companies, Luxembourg offers enticing opportunities. Companies that establish offices and conduct work there are eligible for research and development money, and equity investment.
And, as it should be, if you have a plan, and you believe in it the only think you have to do is to find resources and invest. Risky? Yes. This is the sense if you believe in the project (in Italy this part is often missing). And indeed:
[…] the country is preparing to form a space agency that pairs government with private capital to invest another 70 million to 100 million euros in promising ventures […]
[…] It is easy to calculate that even a relatively small metal asteroid has enough platinum group metals to be worth — and I use a very technical term — a bazillion dollars or Euros. I don’t know what the exchange rate is right now, but they are roughly similar. […]
Besides money the country is also working on the legal and regulatory aspects of the space mining goal (the second country after US…):
[…] Luxembourg is scheduled to enact legislation this summer to give Luxembourg corporations ownership of the metals, water or gases they mine in space. In contrast to similar legislation passed by the U.S. Congress in 2015, Luxembourg’s law does not only cover corporations if a majority of their shares are owned locally. […]
It is challenging, nonetheless it still make sense (to me) believe and invest in this direction and Luxembourg seems doing it in facts and not in words.
PS. On top of everything Luxembourg is also in a good position to lead this endeavour. For its space heritage, of course, but also because it is not considered a threat for anybody.
[…] Luxembourg also attracts less suspicion than a superpower would if it called for revision of the Outer Space Treaty. With its 1,000-person military force, it is “unlikely that Luxembourg is going to be regarded as a threat to anybody […]
Like to say: “you are small enough to keep on playing; we will not stop neither disturb you”. Good players… who knows if it is just fate.