The government of Luxembourg announced a new series of initiatives earlier this year to establish the country as a major player in the bourgeoning industry of asteroid mining. This makes Luxembourg the second country (the first being the United States) to take definitive steps toward developing a legal and regulatory framework for the industry.
To kick off their initiatives, Luxembourg launched SpaceResources.lu. According to a press release from the government, the budget allocated to SpaceResources.lu will be part of the national space budget that will be defined in the frame of the preparation of the Luxembourg contribution to the next multiannual budget of the European Space Agency to be decided in December 2016. Part of their plans include defining the property rights for private operators who obtain non-living resources from outer space – similar to the Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act outlined by US Congress.
Unlike the US however, Luxembourg has expressed interest in directly investing in private asteroid mining companies and relevant R&D projects. Chris Lewicki, President and CEO of Planetary Resources likes the sound of that, saying in a statement “Planetary Resources looks forward to working with Luxembourg.”
It may sound strange for a small European country to take a serious interest in such new (and expensive) technology and research, but the country is already somewhat well established in the field as the home to 30+ year old SES – a communications satellite owner and operator with a fleet of more than 50 active and occasional use geostationary communications satellites. That kind of connection could prove useful when scouting for mineable asteroids in the future.