The Luxembourg Space Agency plays a significant role in promoting Luxembourg internationally and strengthening international collaboration. The LSA represents Luxembourg in the European Space Agency (ESA) and space-related programmes of the European Union. It contributes to and supports United Nations activities relating to space matters, especially with regard to the SpaceResources.lu initiative.
Partnerships between Luxembourg and other countries on space activities and space resources are also expanding.
In 2005 Luxembourg joined the European Space Agency (ESA) as a full member, laying the foundation for participation by the Grand Duchy’s companies in ESA R&D programmes and space exploration projects. Today Luxembourg is one of the top five per capita contributors to ESA.
ESA is an international organisation with 22 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.
ESA’s job is to draw up the European space programme and carry it through. ESA's programmes are designed to find out more about Earth, its immediate space environment, our Solar System and the Universe, as well as to develop satellite-based technologies and services, and to promote European industries. ESA also works closely with space organisations outside Europe.
Luxembourg participates in many programmes covering among others:
- Telecommunications and Integrated Applications
- Earth Observation
- Safety and Security
EU space policy aims to tackle some of the most pressing challenges of today, such as fighting climate change, helping to stimulate technological innovation, and providing socio-economic benefits to citizens. Space technology, data and services have become indispensable in the lives of Europeans. We rely on them when using mobile phones and car navigation systems, watching satellite TV, and withdrawing money. Satellites also provide immediate information when disasters such as earthquakes, forest fires or floods strike, enabling better coordination between emergency and rescue teams.
EU space programmes already deliver services that benefit millions of people. Luxembourg participates in these space-related programmes:
- GNSS – Global Navigation Satellite System
- EUSST – European Space Surveillance and Tracking
- Horizon 2020 Space
Luxembourg is an active member of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), which was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to govern the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity: for peace, security and development.
The Committee was tasked with reviewing international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, studying space-related activities that could be undertaken by the United Nations, encouraging space research programmes, and studying legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space.
The Committee was instrumental in the creation of international space law. International cooperation in space exploration and the use of space technology applications to meet global development goals are discussed in the Committee every year. Owing to rapid advances in space technology, the space agenda is constantly evolving. The Committee therefore provides a unique platform at the global level to monitor and discuss these developments.
Luxembourg is the first European country and the second country worldwide after the United States to offer a legal framework that secures property rights for space resources.
Access to space resources is clearly a global issue, and Luxembourg has joined international efforts to harmonise global rules for the peaceful exploration and utilisation of space resources.
In this context, the number of countries entering dialogue and partnerships with Luxembourg about space activities and space resources is increasing all the time. The USA is the latest to join a list which includes China, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Belgium, Poland, Czech Republic and Portugal.