Luxembourg: the space superpower
Let’s have a look at how a small landlocked country in Europe became a global leader in the space and how others can replicate their success.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has a shave over 600 thousand inhabitants. Even though a small in size, it is playing a unique role in the satellite communications market. Luxembourg is a major shareholder in the SES company, which is is the world-leading satellite operator. There is a big chance that today’s news was aired through their satellite. 18% of all satellite broadcasts are going through their network, thus generating massive profit for the country.
After turbulent 70-ties, when Luxembourg’s steel industry has collapsed, the country started to look for new opportunities with the special attention to hot trending topics. In the 1985 public-private partnership has launched Société Européenne des Satellites, the company today known as SES. As a first private satellite operator, they were providing television coverage for the whole western Europe.
By the time Slovakia has become a democratic country, SES became the world’s largest satellite platform for TV distribution. Continuous innovation and good strategic oversight cemented SES position as a global player. For example, SES-8 satellite was the first commercial payload launched by SpaceX, which reduced the cost of satellite launches.
Most importantly, Luxembourg is gearing for the future. In 2016 Luxembourg’s Ministry of Economy has launched Space Resources initiative with the aim to establish Luxembourg as a major player in the space-based mineral resources economy — asteroid mining. It is also set to identify attractive opportunities in the fields including materials science, additive manufacturing, remote sensing, communications, robotics, data analytics, and artificial intelligence.
A large number of companies operating in these areas are at least partially funded by Luxembourg money. In other words, the majority of intellectual property rights in asteroid mining is partially owned by Luxembourg, thus effectively securing Duchy’s leading position in this fields for a long period to come.
Early identification of upcoming, fast-growing fields in combination with initial capital investment seems like a viable recipe for securing country’s foothold and subsequent success in the space industry. This proactive and pro-business approach can be the inspiration to governments of many small countries.
Slovakia with its heavy industry and automotive pedigree has a huge potential to replicate this success. Thriving local startup scene, good technical education, and abundant production facilities are just waiting for an initial impulse to launch its space industry.
VytahConf is aiming to provide such impulse. On the 20th of March, we will host 15+ international speakers discussing upcoming space trends and technologies. Come and find out how you can jumpstart your career, business, or education in the space industry.
We are very proud that representative from SES will be one of the visitors during VytahConf.
Meet them and space experts at: www.vytahconf.com
In the city where UFO already is :)