Luxembourg shoots for the stars with fresh space mining deal

Luxembourg seems to be in a rush to achieve its goal of becoming Europe’s hub for space mining, as it announced Monday a deal with a newly created company specializing in geolocation services and developing space infrastructure.

Kleos Space, 100% owned by UK-based Magna Parva, is one of dozens of firms to have either settled in the tiny country or signed cooperation agreements with the government since it launched its program to promote the mining of asteroids for minerals last year.

As part of the deal, Kleos Space will collaborate with EmTroniX, a Luxembourg-based electronics developer, and with the country’s Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), to speed up development of in-space manufacturing technology.

Deal comes only days after the nation became the first European country to pass a space mining law.

The ultimate objective, the government said according to German paper Tageblatt, is to make sure Luxembourg has its own space agency by the end of the year.

Today’s announcement comes only days after the nation, one of the euro zone's wealthiest, passed a law that defines the conditions companies must fulfill to obtain a licence for launching a space mining mission.

It also follows similar agreements with other well-known firms with asteroid mining plans, including US-based companies Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources.

With Deep Space, Luxembourg is jointly developing Prospector-X, a small and experimental spacecraft that test technologies for prospecting and mining near Earth asteroids after 2020.

With Planetary Resources the link is mostly financial, as the country recently invested more than $28 million in the firm to help launch its first commercial asteroid prospecting mission by 2020.

While Luxembourg incursion in out of earth mining is fairly new, the country has a long-standing space industry, which has played a significant role in the development of satellite communications.

Geologists believe asteroids are packed with iron ore, nickel and precious metals at much higher concentrations than those found on Earth, making up a market valued in the trillions of dollars, and The Grand Duchy is definitely after them.

NOW READ: Luxembourg becomes first European country to pass space mining law.

Luxembourg shoots for the stars with fresh space mining deal

NASA’ OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will take samples of asteroid material and return it to Earth. (Image courtesy of NASA.)