Luxembourg & Belgium to Develop Exploration & Utilization of Space Resources

BRUSSELS (Luxembourg Space Agency PR) — Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence of the Kingdom of Belgium, and Etienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, signed a joint declaration at the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels on 23 January 2019 in which the two countries commit to collaborate on the development of an international framework for the exploration and utilisation of space resources.

Due to technological developments and the arrival of new players, there is growing political and commercial interest in the use and exploitation of space resources.

In the initial stages, the exploitation of space resources is set to involve the moon and near-earth asteroids. These contain many resources that could be exploited, such as water, aluminium, cobalt, iron and manganese. Water is particularly useful as it can be used directly by humans, as well as a propellant for future space missions.

Luxembourg is a pioneer in the exploration and utilization of space resources through its SpaceResources.lu initiative. The Grand Duchy offers a legal framework recognising that space resources can be used and establishing a process for the authorisation and supervision of corresponding activities. Belgium also has a long tradition of legal, technical and economic expertise in the space sector. Belgium has signed five United Nations space treaties including the 1979 Agreement governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.

Belgium, Luxembourg and other European and non-European States are working within the scope of UNCOPUOS (UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space) to develop an international framework for the exploitation of space resources. Sharing the view that the promotion of private investment in the promising sector of the exploration and use of space resources require the development of such a framework, the declaration signed today is formalising the intention of both countries to bring this about.

Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence of the Kingdom of Belgium, said:

Belgium is contributing actively to ongoing discussions within the United Nations on the elaboration of a common legal framework for the exploration, use and exploitation of space resources. The space economy is growing rapidly, and it is important to start working now on international rules to allow the full and orderly development of the huge potential this sector offers. In line with our strong support for multilateralism, we favour an approach which reconciles individual rights with the collective interest of mankind. We are pleased to join hands today with Luxembourg in this endeavour.

Etienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, added:

I am very pleased with the enhanced cooperation between Belgium and Luxembourg which will enable us to identify and discuss our common interests in the exploration and use of space resources. Following China, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Poland, our neighboring country, Belgium, is the seventh country with which Luxembourg will cooperate in the field of ​​space resources. The Grand Duchy is firmly committed to supporting the competitiveness of the commercial space industry in Europe. Together with our partners, we want to further develop knowledge and skills, while encouraging investment, particularly from the private sector, to develop and implement technological, operational and financial solutions.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Yes, que the Darth Vader March as they are going over to them he dark side. But then Europeans do love socialism and letting international commissions rule their lives. So sad as Luxembourg had such promise for promoting free enterprise in space.

  • Paul_Scutts

    Extremes are best avoided, Thomas. Unbridled Capitalism is not good, it has already been tried (it’s called the Nineteen and early to mid Twentieth Centuries), Unbridled Socialism is not good either (it was called the USSR). The best mix, IMO, is sixty to seventy percent Capitalism and twenty to thirty percent Socialism (it’s called Canada (I would have liked to have added Australia, but, unfortunately our mix, at the moment, is trying to be turned to sh!t)). Regards, Paul.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Phhhttt, everybody loves socialism. People like you only give it a bad name because it put’s the people in line for public money along with corporations who want it for venture capital and as a pad to up their individual take home pay. Give me a break!

  • ThomasLMatula

    Yes, an era with an amazing level of economic and technical progress. Just compared how folks lived in 1910 with 1950. Then how folks lived today compared to 1970. The only real progress has been to the most unregulated parts of the economy, computers, smart phones and the Internet.

    Of course some folks like technological and economic stagnation…

  • Paul_Scutts

    Thomas, “amazing level of economic and technical progress. Just compared how folks lived in 1910 with 1950.” Note: not “folks”, Thomas, “some folks”. And, if you are specifically talking about some folks in the USA, it was at the expense of most folks in the former British Empire and Europe following the Second World War. Yes, good times for some, awful times for a lot of others then in the World. Regards, Paul.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Yes, others who decided to go the route of socialism. Don’t blame America if the Europeans decided to put their faith in government owned or government subsidized industries and their life style declined as a result.

  • Paul_Scutts

    Thomas, don’t get me wrong, I’m not America bashing. Quite the opposite. The entry of the US, stopped the Nazis. The Free World exists today primarily because of that. What I am against is unbridled capitalism. Not the same thing. Regards, Paul.

  • joe tusgadaro

    Point out a socialist country in the EU…..I’ll be over here having a cup of tea.

  • redneck

    Just to clarify. When you write unbridled capitalism, do you mean business beyond the rule of law and reasonable moral code? Slavery, extortion and such?

  • ThomasLMatula

    FYI

    https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/ip031_en_2.pdf

    “State-owned enterprises account for a large share of output and employment in many EU member states. Moreover they are particularly active in network sectors and play an important role in the life of EU citizens and businesses. ‘

    Note also the trend in trying to privatize many of them in order to stimulate economic innovation.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Unbridled capitalism is just a concept that Karl Marx developed to justify communism. There is no country where it exists, since ‘capitalism” has always been subject to the court system even if their is no regulatory agency over a specific industry. But historically market forces are more powerful as a tool for regulating them. But its more accurate to use the term free markets rather than capitalism, but its possible to have capitalism with free markets due to government micro-regulation.

    The telecommunications industry in the United States prior to the mid-1980’s is a good example were a single private firm was allowed to own 95% of the phones in the United States. Capitalism because it was privately own, but not a free market because the government regulators prevented the entry of new competition to counter them. As a result there was little innovation in terms of telephones between 1910 and 1985. A person from 1910 transported to 1985 would have no trouble recognizing and using a telephone. But then AT&T’s monopoly was broken by a lawsuit from a firm, Sprint, that wanted to enter the market. The result has been a return to free market competition and rapid development of telephone technology. As a result that same individual from 1910 if given an iPhone from 2010 would not be able to recognize it as a phone, let alone figure out how to use it without instruction, and the same would be true for someone from 1985 handed an iPhone. That is the power of free market competition.

  • joe tusgadaro

    That’s socialism to you?…I’ll inform the Polish, Czech, Hungarians ect that

    they had it wrong for almost 50 years.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Government-owned_companies_of_the_United_States

    Welcome to the commune comrade.

  • ThomasLMatula

    The problem is that after over 150 years of debate and discussion terms like socialism and capitalism has become muddled. Technically in economics socialism is a spectrum from nations that have nationalize a couple of industries to those that have most industries nationalize. But you could also refer those nations being an examples of “Welfare Capitalism”, an economic system where there is private economic activity but it is heavily taxed to provide services to the general population.

    That is why I prefer to use the terms free market versus controlled markets instead of Capitalism/Socialism which have become as much political terms as economic ones.

    Bringing this back around to this post, the first economic problem with the type of Moon Authority is that would be formed under the Moon Agreement is that we don’t know enough about resources in space to even begin to regulate them at this point. This is the fundamental failure of socialism, the belief that experts are better than markets in decision making.

    The other issue is that the sharing doctrine required under Article 11 reduces the potential ROI to a point where no private firm will risk developing the technology need to develop space resources. This greatly reduces that chance that the necessary technologies will be developed to incorporate space resources into the human economic sphere as has been the case with sea floor mining under the LOST.