This article was written together with Alina Vasiurenko.
On 10 May 2019, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the United States of America signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen cooperation in the field of space-related activities and associated commercial opportunities.
US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross came to Luxembourg to attend the official MOU-signing ceremony with Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, Etienne Schneider. The document was dubbed, by Secretary Ross, “the foundation for establishing a stable and reliable commercial global space industry.” Indeed, the two countries are the only ones in the world with specific legislation on the exploitation of space resources.
The MOU paves the way for a formal dialogue as both countries are eager to join efforts in further exploration of space initiatives. Within this framework, existing experience and expertise will be used as a basis for the creation of mutual synergies towards a new era of business in space.
The cooperation will cover the spheres of research and development, exploration, research institutes, public–private partnership, and other areas.
Signing the MOU was a natural next step in Luxembourg’s strategy and vision towards diversifying its economy by further developing the space industry.
Luxembourg has been actively taking steps towards this vision: in 2015 the Grand Duchy became the 27th member of the European Space Agency; the government inaugurated the initiative “spaceresources.lu” in 2016, expanding the space sector here; and in 2017, Luxembourg launched the first European legal regulatory framework for the exploitation, use, and ownership of space resources, entering into force on 1 August 2017.
In 2018, Luxembourg officially launched the Luxembourg Space Agency, promoting the economic development of the space sector in Luxembourg. The Agency provides support to the space industry as a whole, attracting new businesses, developing human resources, offering innovative financial solutions, and supporting academic learning and research.
With the launch this autumn of a unique degree at the University of Luxembourg, the Interdisciplinary Space Master’s, the space community is expected to skyrocket even higher.