Luxembourg announced its collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC). ESRIC focuses on becoming an internationally recognized center of expertise for technical, scientific, economic, and business associated with the use of space resources for robotic and human exploration along with a future in-space economy.
ESRIC will team up with private and public international players in this field to develop a center of excellence for space resources in Europe. The ESRIC creation is a segment of SpaceResources.lu, a Luxembourg government initiative, launched in 2016 to create an ecosystem that is favorable for the development of activities that are associated with the use and exploration of space resources.
The activities of ESRIC plans to focus on research and development of space resources, getting together excellence from public research and its facilities, with initiative and efficacy from the private sector. It will also contribute to the economic growth by backing start-ups and commercial initiatives, providing a business development component, and allowing technology transfer between non-space and space industries.
An implementation deal regarding cooperation activities at ESRIC was signed on 18th November 2020 between the Ministry of the Economy, as the Luxembourg Space Agency’s supervisory body, the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, ESA, and a mission-driven research and technology organization. Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology operates and hosts ESRIC. ESA will deliver equipment, provide business and technical support to the business incubator, and implement research activities at ESRIC.
Franz Fayo, the Luxembourg Minister of Economy, stated while signing the agreement that ESRIC is the 1st research, innovation center, and business that completely focuses on the utilization of resources found in space. The mission-driven studies and applications, state-of-the-art facilities, and best-in-class talent play a key role in success.
The ESA Director General, Jan Wörner, welcomed the strategic partnership with Luxembourg in establishing ESRIC, calling it an exceptional center committed to research and advancement in the field of space resources.