Luxembourg is home to over 20 advanced technology companies, including the global satellite operator SES, LuxSpace, Euro-Composites, Gradel and HITEC Luxembourg. Firms such as these are strongly engaged in research, development and service provision in a range of fields including satellite communications and infrastructure, microsatellites, electric propulsion, Earth observation, satellite-based air and marine traffic monitoring, navigation, and security.
There is also a major interest in space resources with the set up of SpaceResources.lu , an initiative that among many others is developing a legal and regulatory framework providing certainty about the future ownership of mineral resources extracted from Near Earth Objects (NEO’s) such as asteroids. Since 2005, Luxembourg has been a European Space Agency (ESA) member and is currently participating in a number of important ESA programmes.
Supported by the Luxembourg Government, the EarthLab Luxembourg centre (a joint venture between Telespazio France, e-GEOS, Post Luxembourg and Hitec Luxembourg) will be part of the EarthLab Galaxy network. This monitors the environment, helping to assess risks for industry, insurance and investment funds. The geo-information research centre will use data collected by satellites and other methods to provide next-generation industrial and environmental risk services.
Achieving the objectives of the national space policy requires the implementation of several measures at European and national level. Over the last 30 years, the country has firmly supported the industry, providing a combination of policy, programmes and funding, all targeted at encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.
Luxembourg contributes to various ESA programmes, in traditional areas of interest for Luxembourg, such as telecommunications, but also in the areas of Earth observation, navigation, technology and security.
The Government has also developed bi- or multi-lateral relationship with other major space players outside Luxembourg, such as CNES, DLR and NASA.
On a national level, several Government programmes support the space sector:
- LuxLAUNCH offers funding for preparatory studies to help industry and research organisations identify new opportunities and integrate into European and global networks. Preference is given to the fields of satellite telecommunications, satellite navigation and Earth observation.
- The LuxIMPULSE programme, is managed by ESA which helps companies investigate innovative ideas and develop them into products.
- LuxYGT provides the space sector with a new generation of experts by offering training to young graduates in space-related technologies. The programme includes the opportunity for a participant to conduct a specific project under the guidance of an ESA staff member.
Luxembourg ranks 1st in the world for technological readiness, i.e., “the agility with which an economy adopts existing technologies to enhance the productivity of its industries.”
Source: World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2015
Luxembourg has the highest percentage in the world of knowledge-intensive jobs among its workforce.
Source: World Economic Forum Network Readiness Index Report 2015
The Ministry of the Economy maintains the relationships with ESA and manages policy, finances, and matters related to the various programmes. The Ministry opens programme lines and supports project set-up on the basis of industry and public research capabilities and objectives.
Luxinnovation, the National Agency for Innovation and Research, is the national point of contact for ESA matters. As such, Luxinnovation provides information and support to companies and research centres willing to participate in European R&D projects. Luxinnovation also acts on behalf of the Government, representing Luxembourg on the committees in charge of implementing ESA and EU space programmes.
The Luxembourg Space Cluster is managed by Luxinnovation and brings together enterprises and research laboratories. Its role is to increase the visibility of its members, stimulate cooperation at the international level, and identify and develop new business opportunities through collaborative projects. The Cluster has a strong presence at international conferences and fairs, and it also organises events to enable its members to meet potential partners from other countries. It also assists actors from abroad that are interested in establishing activities in Luxembourg.
GLAE (Groupement Luxembourgeois de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace) is an industry group for the aeronautics and space industry whose members include the leading companies in Luxembourg's space sector. Its role is to provide a permanent link between members, advising them, and defending their shared professional, economic and social interests at the national and international levels.
The Media and Communications Department at the Ministry of State is in charge of space legislation.