For the fourth time, Space Resources Week is being held in Luxembourg from 3 to 5 May 2022: the world's largest conference exclusively dedicated to the exploration and use of space resources. Organised by the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC), in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) and the Luxembourg Institute for Science and Technology (LIST), it brings together around 100 international speakers who will take stock of the space resources utilisation sector development.
Within the national priorities of Luxembourg since 2016 thanks to the Spaceresources.lu initiative, the field of space resources is now covered by the programmes of many national space agencies and has a prominent place in the European Space Agency (ESA) agenda.
During his opening remarks, Luxembourg’s Minister of the Economy Franz Fayot said: “This event is recognized worldwide and key in bringing the international community together. It underlines the central role of Luxembourg in this field. While space resources offer a means of exploring the Moon and the solar system in a sustainable way, the space resources field can also be a way of stimulating innovation on Earth and finding new ways to address global challenges.”
More than 1,000 people from all over the world have registered for the various seminars, which cover, among other things, the latest discoveries and new concrete uses of space resources, the international legal framework and funding methods for research and development of new technologies. This year's programme places special emphasis on the topics of sustainability, circular economy, environmental preservation and waste treatment.
Dr Kathryn Hadler, an internationally renowned scientist in the field of mineral processing and recovery and Director of ESRIC since April 2022, announced during her keynote speech the launch of a knowledge sharing platform for the space resources community.
This data visualisation tool integrates about 1,000 scientific publications and will be further complemented by news, patents, books, press articles, legislative documents, or social media posts. It is freely accessible to the space resources community, on a registration basis.
The knowledge-sharing platform responds to the motivations and expectations of the community and follows a survey conducted between April and July 2021 which revealed the great diversity of the space sector as well as its economic potential, linked to terrestrial sectors such as mining, energy or construction.
"One of the main expectations of the space resource community is to have access to a centralised and easily exploitable knowledge base. ESRIC's knowledge-sharing platform is of great interest to researchers, but it can also highlight business opportunities," said Kathryn Hadler.
"Based on technology developed at LIST, this platform is applicable in the field of space resources but could be transposed to other research areas. It is a fantastic tool to link the business vision with the scientific vision", continued Thomas Kallstenius, CEO of the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST).
Space Resources Week is also the occasion to present the first start-ups that have begun their pre-incubation in the framework of ESRIC's Start-up Support Programme (SSP): Astroport Space Technologies, Anisoprint, Adventus Interstellar, Four Point, and Orbit Recycling will take the stage on 4 May to present their ambitious projects. The SSP programme aims to support early-stage start-ups in the space resources sector, develop their business models, attract their first customers, and secure their first investments.
Between now and the next Space Resources Week in spring 2023, the community will have the opportunity to meet in September 2022 at the Rockhal in Belval for the final of the ESA-ESRIC Space Resources Challenge, the first European robotics challenge dedicated to space resources and aiming to identify prospecting technologies that can be used in future ESA missions.
ESRIC, powered by the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) and the Luxembourg Institute for Science and Technology (LIST) with the European Space Agency (ESA) as a strategic partner, was established in Luxembourg in August 2020. In addition to developing research activities along the space resource value chain, the centre supports commercial initiatives of established players and start-ups, enables technology transfer between space and non-space industries and promotes public-private partnerships and new initiatives in the field of space resources.