Daily Management Review

Luxembourg goes in open space


The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has made the first step on the way to space exploration, embodied in a cooperation agreement with Californian technology company Deep Space Industries. Together with DSI, Luxembourg will take up exploration and production of minerals on asteroids using robotic devices. The first space mission in search of minerals can start just in four years.

Luxembourg declared its willingness to invest and participate in scientific research, exploration and mining of mineral resources in space in February this year. The country has expressed its intention to become a global center of mining on asteroids. Over the past months, the authorities of Luxembourg sent its proposals to several space agencies and companies from around the world. Now it looks like the attempts have panned out. On Thursday, the Luxembourg Government has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Californian company Deep Space Industries (DSI). The document states that the Government of Luxembourg will participate in financing development and launch of the first DSI spacecraft - Prospector-X. As noted in DSI’s press release, the agreement is a "small but very important step towards development of the technology needed to support a profitable business for the extraction of minerals on the asteroids."

Luxembourg’s participation in the joint project will not be limited by financing and development of technology. Prospector-X will also be based in the Grand Duchy, aided by University of Luxembourg. In the first stage, Prospector-X will be launched into low Earth orbit, where it will test a number of exploration technologies and mining on asteroids. In particular, the spacecraft will check the electronic equipment’s resistance to radiation effects during long space missions. Then, Prospector-1 will set out to its first asteroid mission. Having reached the asteroid, Prospector-1 will transmit information on the asteroid’s composition and assessment of possibilities of doing production on it. 

The Luxembourg authorities are also in talks with another American company operating in the same field - Planetary Resources. The company’s shareholders, among others, are Virgin’s founder Sir Richard Branson, as well as Larry Page and Eric Schmidt of Alphabet, which owns Google.  

source: engadget.com

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