Wilbur Ross, US Secretary of Commerce and Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Étienne Schneider met in Luxembourg on 10 May 2019 to sign the memorandum of understanding. The memorandum will be used as a platform for space-related collaboration and projects. The two countries aim to share expertise and information, facilitate new commercial and investment opportunities for the space sector and strengthen their policy coordination in the pioneering work both are doing in the international community to promote a business-friendly regulatory framework. The intention is also to identify projects of common interest in fields such as civil space exploration, science, R&D, earth observation, space situational awareness and communication.

A common vision of a future in space

The efforts to facilitate research, exploration, development and use of space do not only concern the governments of the two countries, but also research organisations and private companies. “The United States and Luxembourg share a rich history and a common vision of a future in space that is overwhelmingly commercial,” underlined US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This Memorandum forms the basis for increased collaboration across a wide range of space activities, including research, exploration, defense, and space commerce. It also allows for partnership on important space problems like regulatory reform and space debris. As such, it covers the broadest possible range of space activities to be undertaken by the two countries as an important next wave of economic growth.”

Forerunners in commercial space activities

Luxembourg and the US are both leaders in the “new space” economy consisting of companies that explore and exploit space resources on a commercial basis. “The Grand Duchy is the first European country to offer a legal framework recognising that space resources can be used. The agreement with the United States is yet another important step forward in enhancing international cooperation through our SpaceResources.lu initiative,” Minister Schneider pointed out.

“Few countries are more ambitious than Luxembourg and the United States when it comes to space,” said US Ambassador to Luxembourg Randy Evans and claimed that the signature of the memorandum “heralds a new chapter in our bilateral relationship. By working together, our space companies, scientists, and policy experts will experience even greater growth and more breakthroughs for future generations. It is a tremendous growth area that will serve as the platform for many important things for years to come. Together we each do so much more than apart.”