Credit: ESRIC

The Luxembourg-based European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) has announced that five new ventures will embark on their pre-incubation journey as part of the third edition of the ESRIC Start-up Support Programme.

Less than two years ago, in 2021, ESRIC rolled out the initial call for the ESRIC Start-up Support Programme, the world's first incubation programme entirely dedicated to space resources utilisation (SRU). Now in its third edition, the programme is bringing on board five new ventures to start their pre-incubation journey.

In the next three months, the five teams will go through a series of customised mentoring sessions, which are expected to enable them to validate their technical concepts and align them with market opportunities. Just like their predecessors, they will have certain milestones to accomplish. At the end of the three-month programme, one venture will be selected and supported in opening a business entity in Luxembourg, hosted at Technoport.

"Luxembourg is now a central player on the international stage of space resources, thanks to its vision and its commitment towards the development of the space sector and the sustained efforts from academia, research and business," said Luxembourg's Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot. "We are proud to have more than 80 space companies and institutes based here and the ESRIC Start-up Support Programme is playing a key role in attracting and supporting this booming new-space ecosystem."

Selected ventures

- Moliri Space (Estonia): The team aims to build solar power stations made from space resources in-situ. These stations would be able to produce electricity and have applications in both the terrestrial and space markets.

- Open Moon (Spain): A venture with a mission to digitalise the instruments on the Moon and in space, Open Moon is targeting a complementary cloud-based product ecosystem, facilitating the communication with certain instruments, as well as continuous monitoring, maintenance and data analytics.

- Orbital Mining Corp. (USA): Seeking to become an end-to-end integrated energy company on the Moon, Orbital Mining Corporation (OMC) aims to provide electricity generation, storage and transmission. The current offering of OMC is called MoLISC, a modular battery providing a lightweight and power efficient solution matching the needs of electronic devices and subsystems engaged in SRU Moon operations.

- SolSys Mining (Norway): Lunafolia, a complete system for lunar SRU and agriculture, encompassing nutrient extraction, hydroponics and plant-waste recycling, is the solution SolSys aims to develop. With this, the team wants to contribute to the reduction of costs to transport materials to the Moon, enabling a long-term presence in space.

- We Space (Israel): We Space is targeting autonomous flying robotic systems, also known as hoppers, capable of high-speed driving on the Moon. The technology the team is developing would enable a cost-effective exploration of the lunar surface, essential for a better understanding of its formation and evolution.

"We are thrilled to witness the growing interest in space resources from such diverse startups. ESRIC's mission is to become an international leader in the field and this is the reason why we are growing our research capabilities simultaneously to supporting the development of commercial readiness for business visionaries wanting to innovate and be part of the new-space economy," stated Dr Kathryn Hadler, Director of ESRIC.

Launched in 2020, ESRIC is an initiative of the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) in strategic partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA). It is a unique place where technologies, businesses and people meet to drive the future of space resources utilisation in support of space exploration and the creation of an in-space economy.