ESRIC is the first research, business and innovation centre exclusively focused on the use of space resources in support of human and robotic space exploration and the creation of an in-space economy. ESRIC is a joint initiative of the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA), the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
ESRIC’s activities are based on four main pillars: space resources research and development, support for economic activities, knowledge management and community management. ESRIC connects leading academic, industrial and entrepreneurial talents in this field. It contributes to economic growth by supporting commercial initiatives and start-ups, offering a business incubation component and enabling technology transfer between space and non-space industries.
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
EResearch and development
ESRIC aims to develop research activities all along the value chain of space resources utilization. It focuses on the following four thematic areas of research:
- ISRU value chain (contribute to and lead collaborative end-to-end ISRU projects)
- Prospecting and Mining (identify, excavate, transport and handle resources)
- Processing and Supplying (produce, store and deliver feedstock and consumables)
- Construction and Manufacturing (fabricate equipment and infrastructure using space resources)
The initial focus is on enabling sustainable space activities using gases and metals derived from lunar regolith.
ESRIC seeks to develop partnerships with established companies and start-ups. The ESRIC start-up support programme supports early-stage start-ups in the space resources sector to refine their business plan, attract their first customers and secure their first investment.
ESRIC monitors the progress in space resources science, technology and markets. Additionally, it provides a source of up-to-date information on developments related to space resources utilization.
ESRIC helps to connect the space resources community by creating an open and collaborative environment to encourage dialogue and exchange of ideas.
ESRIC hosts key research infrastructure, enabling ground-based R&D along the value chain including the prospecting, extraction, processing, storage, delivery and utilization of space resources. This infrastructure is accessible to European industry and academia, as well as international partners. ESRIC’s laboratories and testing facilities are located at LIST’s premises in Belvaux, Luxembourg, with dedicated office space for staff, contractors and external users associated to the projects.
In line with the research goal to process regolith and produce oxygen on the Moon, the research facilities provide the following capabilities during its initial phase:
- Dry Chemistry and Analytical suite: access to standard tools for the handling of granular material and powders, as well as analytical capabilities for the characterisation of input and output materials (i.e. regolith simulants).
- Wet Chemistry suite: facilities to handle liquid substances used during the processing of materials.
- End to end oxygen demonstrators and assembly suite : hydrogen reduction, carbothermal reduction and molten salt reactors, as well as workbenches for components assembly and modifications
ESRIC also has access to equipment from the Material Research and Technology department of LIST, located on the same campus, to address certain equipment gaps, in particular related to material analysis.
Additional equipment will be added to the laboratories of ESRIC depending on the evolution of European research needs in this domain, including a Dirty Thermal Vacuum Chamber.
ESRIC partners with public and private international players in order to create a hub of excellence for space resources in Europe.
- Research and technology organizations
- Commercial space companies
- Non-space commercial companies keen to expand their business in space resources
- Space agencies
- International organizations.
MAJOR SPACE PROJECTS
- Lunar regolith processing for the production of consumables such as water, oxygen and metals (in partnership with ESA).
- ESRIC start-up support program, offering business and technical support, incubation and access to non-dilutive funding.
- ESA-ESRIC space resources challenge, supporting innovative technical methods for prospecting resources on the Moon.
- Space resources knowledge management and sharing platform
- Space Resources Week, an annual event covering general, scientific, technical, business, legal and economic topics