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Luxembourg Offers Legal Framework for Use of Space Resources

By | July 14, 2017
      Chambre des députés, the Parliament of Luxembourg. Photo: Claude Meisch.

      Chambre des députés, the Parliament of Luxembourg. Photo: Claude Meisch.

      The Luxembourg Parliament adopted a draft law on the exploration and use of space resources. The country is thus the first in Europe to offer a legal framework ensuring that private operators can be confident about their rights on resources they extract in space. The law will come into force on August 1.

      Its first article provides that space resources are capable of being owned. The country’s law also establishes the procedures for authorizing and supervising space exploration missions.

      According to the Luxembourg government, this legal and regulatory framework is a key action of an overall strategy to be implemented within the initiative, whose goal is to support the long-term economic development of new, innovative activities in the space industry. Within this strategy, Luxembourg has moreover begun to support research and development projects of some leading players in the space mining industry that have already set up their European operations in Luxembourg.

      Simultaneously to steps taken on the national level within the initiative, Luxembourg continues to promote international cooperation in order to progress on a future governance scheme and a global regulatory framework of space resources utilization. In line with this, the country recently signed a joint statement on future activities concerning missions to the asteroids, related technologies and space resources exploration and utilization with the European Space Agency (ESA). Luxembourg and the ESA agreed on the opportunity to further studying technical and scientific aspects of space resources exploration and utilization activities.