Luxembourg Establishes Space Agency and New Fund
by Jeff Foust September 13, 2018 (spacenews.com)
• On September 12th, Luxembourg formally announced the creation of a national space agency, to expand its role in the global space economy. Deputy prime minister Étienne Schneider named Marc Serres, previously the head of space affairs at the Ministry of the Economy, as the new space agency head.
• The Luxembourg Space Agency will focus primarily on building up the country’s space industry, supporting education and workforce development, and attracting space-related companies to Luxembourg.
• The space agency will also establish the Luxembourg Space Fund, a public-private partnership in the amount of $116 million (US) to “provide equity funding for new space companies with ground-breaking ideas and technology.”
• The timing of the announcement ahead of the October 4th parliamentary elections is meant to ensure that the ongoing space initiatives survive the current government in the event that Schneider is elected out of office.
PARIS — The government of Luxembourg continued work to expand its role in the global space economy Sept. 12 by formally establishing a national space agency, a move designed in part to ensure the effort continues after an upcoming election.
In a ceremony in Luxembourg City, Étienne Schneider, deputy prime minister and minister of the economy, formally announced the creation of the Luxembourg Space Agency. The agency will be led by Marc Serres, previously the head of space affairs at the Ministry of the Economy.
Unlike traditional national space agencies, which support spacecraft missions and scientific research, the Luxembourg Space Agency will focus primarily on building up the country’s space industry as well as supporting education and workforce development.
Schneider noted that Luxembourg’s recent efforts, most notably the SpaceResources.lu project to attract companies working in the nascent space resources field, had led to 20 countries establishing a presence in the country. “All this is why it’s so important to me to launch today this Luxembourg Space Agency in order to professionalize our approach to this new community,” he said.
Serres said that the agency will work with a wide range of other organizations, both within the government and the private sector, to meet the agency’s goals. “The agency will be well-equipped to support industry in their daily challenges, and it leads to the most favorable environment for this sector to continue to grow,” he said, describing its four “strategic lines” as expertise, innovation, skills and funding.
That last item will include a new fund for supporting space companies. Schneider announced that the space agency will work with other government agencies and the private sector to establish the Luxembourg Space Fund, valued at 100 million euros ($116 million). The fund, according to a government statement, will “provide equity funding for new space companies with ground-breaking ideas and technology.”
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