Luxembourg is a country that is aggressively pursuing space mining, having set aside public funds specifically to develop related technologies. Now it is taking more action, partnering with asteroid mining companies to reach its extraterrestrial goals.
Space mining company Planetary Resources has just revealed that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the banking institution Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement (SNCI) to help develop a space resource industry.
Falling under Luxembourg’s SpaceResources.lu initiative, the MOU hopes to advance technologies and various lines of business toward the exploration and utilization of resources from asteroids.
The agreement hints at the possibility of a direct capital investment in Planetary Resources Luxembourg through a public equity position to be taken by the SNCI to become a minority shareholder.
This is not the first time that Luxembourg has partnered with the private sector in this field. Last May, it also inked a deal with American company Deep Space Industries (DSI) to co-develop DSI’s first spacecraft, the Prospector X.
This partnership with Planetary Resources hopes to build on the company's successes in space mining technologies. By developing the pathway for identifying the most commercially viable near-Earth asteroids, Planetary Resources has created an Earth observation business, Ceres, that generates revenue and tests the technologies and services required for asteroid prospecting missions.
It has also tested core hardware and software technologies. This occurred when the Arkyd-3R satellite was deployed from the International Space Station.
Ultimately, the company is planning to launch its next satellite, the Arkyd-6, later this year. That satellite will carry a thermographic sensor that measures temperature differences of objects on Earth; this will be done in the hope that that technology can be used to spot the presence of water and water-bearing minerals on asteroids.