Economy & Politics

A bit of Luxembourg will go to the moon

The iSpace Europe firm, based in Luxembourg, has been chosen by NASA. In 2023, its equipment will take off to collect soil samples on the surface of the natural satellite located 384,402 km from the Earth.

Patrick JACQUEMOT

Patrick JACQUEMOT

The iSpace Europe firm, based in Luxembourg, has been chosen by NASA. In 2023, its equipment will take off to collect soil samples on the surface of the natural satellite located 384,402 km from the Earth.

The Grand Duchy wishes to become a visible player in the conquest of space. The latest news reflecting this desire was the partnership signed between the country and the European Space Agency for the installation, in the Grand Duchy, of a “European Space Resources Innovation Center” (ESRIC). But, Thursday evening, NASA in turn came to strengthen the national ambition. Indeed, the US Space Agency has chosen the Luxembourg firm ISpace Europe as a partner for its next lunar mission Artemis 2023.

The company, located on rue de l’Industrie (behind the offices of Paul Wurth), was chosen precisely to remove mineral material from the surface of the Moon. Soil samples that the robots it designs will have to take, like the machines created by its parent company ISpace Japan (also retained).

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With the Artemis program, NASA will be making its comeback to the Moon. If the first missions will begin in 2021, it is expected that the first woman and the next man will be able to set foot on the distant Earth satellite in 2024. To collect the lunar rocks, the US space agency called on four selected companies worldwide. In its official statement, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration indicates that the legislative measures and the efforts made in Luxembourg, in particular “to facilitate the commercial transactions concerning the space resources”, helped to the conclusion of the transaction.

Since 2017, the country has in fact allowed the exploration and use of space resources “to allow the collection and transfer of ownership of regoliths by commercial companies.” Regolith is the layer of fine dust covering the surface of the Moon in particular.

Last July, the Japanese ambassador to Luxembourg had the right to a demonstration of the robot leaving for the Moon.

Last July, the Japanese ambassador to Luxembourg had the right to a demonstration of the robot leaving for the Moon.

Photo: ISpace Europe


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