By Pierre Reuter, Hogan Lovells Office managing partner.
The past two years have been significant for the space sector in Luxembourg. Major initiatives include the launch of Spaceresources.lu and the Luxembourg Space Agency and the publication of the law on space mining. In 2019, Luxembourg will still be a trailblazer!
In September 2018, Luxembourg officially launched the Luxembourg Space Agency. It is not about sending rockets to the moon but rather about providing an attractive business, legal, and regulatory framework to companies and investors to develop this industry in Luxembourg.
With a strong political will, the Spaceresources.lu initiative (a platform dedicated to the sector launched in 2016), and the first space mining legislation in the World published in 2017, Luxembourg is regarded worldwide as both a first-mover and a proactive player in this sector. According to a Delano article of August 2018, 150 space companies had already contacted the Luxembourg Minister of Economy, Etienne Schneider, to establish themselves in Luxembourg.
Why is a legal framework required?
Luxembourg's space activities are currently governed by:
- Art. 20 of the Law of 27 July 1991 on electronic media: no one can create or exploit a Luxembourg satellite system without a concession/authorisation from the Luxembourg government. However, this law only applies where Luxembourg frequencies are used.
- The Law of 20 July 2017, which is both innovative and unique (please read more details in our December 2017 blog article).
The Luxembourg space sector is flourishing but there are many activities that are not covered by these laws, a.o. observation of earth, space exploration, and the refueling and refurbishing of satellites. So a new draft law on space activities is currently being discussed by the Luxembourg Parliament. Here is what you should know about it:
Luxembourg, the space to be
The space sector is raising the awareness of Luxembourg among major countries competing within this growing industry, for example:
- USA: The new Ambassador to Luxembourg, Randy Evans, declared in September 2018 in an interview with Delano, "I think Luxembourg is perfectly positioned to assume an enormous leadership role in the space sector". Coming from an ambassador of the only country which has walked on the moon, this strongly suggests that Luxembourg can reach for the stars!
- China: The Luxembourg Ministry of Economy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the China National Space Administration and a cooperation agreement with the National Space Science Center, both in January 2018,
- Belgium, joint declaration on the exploration and utilization of space resources in January 2019.
More and more foreign private players are also becoming part of the Luxembourg game, ie:
What's next in 2019 from a legal point of view?
The 2017 Luxembourg law on space mining is quite visionary and sets out a flexible framework for space miners. However, some questions remain unanswered and should be discussed … and answered:
- What are space resources?
- What are we able to do with those resources?
- Do we need them at all?
So don't forget to watch this space. Aim for the moon, you might land amongst the stars!
Remain posted on the space industry news by following Hogan Lovells (Luxembourg) and the Luxembourg Space Agency on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Publié le 04 février 2019