Luxembourg, China Sign Cooperative Space Agreement

Chinese Academy of Sciences to establish a Research Laboratory in Luxembourg

LUXEMBOURG, January 16, 2018 (Luxembourg Government PR) – The Ministry of the Economy and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that provides a framework for the development and implementation of scientific, technical, economic and political cooperation between Luxembourg and China in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. The areas of potential cooperation include, but are not limited to economic, legal, regulatory and technological aspects of the utilization of space resources.

Furthermore, the Ministry of the Economy, represented by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy, Étienne Schneider and the National Space Science Center (NSSC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) signed a cooperation agreement to establish a Research Laboratory of Deep Space Exploration in Luxembourg. The National Space Science Center is China’s gateway to space science. It is the key institute responsible for planning, developing, launching and operating China’s space science satellite missions.

The Research Laboratory of Deep Space Exploration will be established as an independent legal entity in Luxembourg where it will carry out scientific research and technology development and thus contribute to achieving the objectives set forth within the SpaceResources.lu initiative. Other main research fields of the Research Laboratory include universal interplanetary communications network related technology or advanced deep space communications technology. In a first stage, the Research Laboratory will employ at least 5 employees in Luxembourg.

  • Tom Billings

    “The Research Laboratory of Deep Space Exploration will be established as an independent legal entity in Luxembourg where it will carry out scientific research and technology development and thus contribute to achieving the objectives set forth within the SpaceResources.lu initiative. Other main research fields of the Research Laboratory include universal interplanetary communications network related technology or advanced deep space communications technology. In a first stage, the Research Laboratory will employ at least 5 employees in Luxembourg.”

    So, the Luxembourgers are making a play to move technology from China to Europe, or at least it seems so. At the same time China will hope for more influence in Europe’s developing center for spaceflight, Luxembourg. The Chinese certainly have the money to make a large effect. Whether it will be one they plan to have will be interesting to see. In addition, it is a good thing to develop interplanetary communications system early. I suspect that China’s last couple decades of work on lasers will be prominent in this. Getting data back from probes to the Asteroid Belt, in the amounts that will be needed for prospecting, is already a hard task.

    Starting small (5 people) has the advantage that it is a toe in the water to test how warm it is. Also, a good size for a station from which to monitor what those crazy Americans are doing with their own more private agreements with Luxembourg.

    Not bad at all for both sides. In general, it also seems to demonstrate that the Chinese are *not* truly opposed to asteroid mining. Instead, they are looking to get in on the ground floor enough that when it takes off they can ride along, without putting potentially embarrassing amounts of money down right now, in case asteroid mining does *not* blossom.

  • windbourne

    unless you read some other article or have insider info, there is very little of what you said that could be interpreted that way.
    First off, Luxemburg is doing the exploration.
    Secondly, China does not have any deep space comm, esp with lasers.
    Third, Luxemburg is looking to SELL information to others, including China.
    That is why they bought the America outfits.

  • Tom Billings

    “Third, Luxemburg is looking to SELL information to others, including China.”

    Where do you get that? Not from the press release! Did Luxembourg sell information about Comsats when, in the 1980s, they put together a friendly center in Luxembourg for operators of comsats?? They are doing the same thing with asteroid mining now that they did then. They are providing a sovereign base from which to do business, inside the EU, for asteroid mining companies, in a cooperative situation with them. They expect that these companies’ operations inside Luxembourg will grow as time goes on, and that their country will benefit from that. They have even taken a non-controlling interest in some operations.

    “That is why they bought the America outfits.”

    Simply put, they did nothing of the kind. They invested in them, to further particular projects. They have no controlling interest in either Planetary Resources or Deep Space Industries.

    “Secondly, China does not have any deep space comm, esp with lasers.”

    Correct, but they do have some growing ability in laser technology at powers that will be needed for getting large amounts of data transferred back from the asteroid belt. Their new Center in Luxembourg will probably participate with European companies interested in communications networks throughout the Solar System, if the press release is sooth. China will also be a major player in spaceflight in coming decades, and Luxembourg is trying to cover their bases by finding out what China’s real attitude toward asteroid mining is. It seems that attitude is positive, at least from this release, and the subsequent release:

    http://parabolicarc.com/2018/01/18/luxembourg-china-sign-cooperative-space-agreement/

    “First off, Luxemburg is doing the exploration.”

    Well, …no. Luxembourg is providing a sovereign base from which mining companies can operate inside the EU, and is participating in a few announced projects. Those projects will be completed by companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, at least so far. The first is working here in Washington State, and the second is based in the ARC Entrepreneurial Park in Mountain View, CA. Luxembourg will also be working with China now.

    Luxembourg, being a small country, depends upon extending the networks of industrial society in ways that they think will bring Luxembourg a good return. They did so successfully with Comsats, and hope to repeat that process with another spaceflight industry. This is a role Luxembourg has played very successfully since WW2. What else did you expect?