L-R: Alain Wagner, Vice President of Airbus Defence & Space; André Hansen, Luxembourg's Ministry of the Economy; Franz Fayot, Luxembourg's Economy Minister; Dr Thomas Kallstenius, CEO of LIST; Mathias Link, Director of ESRIC; Credit: SIP / Emmanuel Claude

The Luxembourg-based European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Airbus to collaborate on lunar resources extraction technologies.

This strategic partnership is aimed at supporting the development of key European in-situ resources utilisation (ISRU) technologies, accelerating the development of the lunar economy around space resources.

Luxembourg created ESRIC in 2020, in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), in order to support the European effort in the field of space resources.

"ESRIC aims to become the internationally recognised centre of expertise for scientific, technical, business and economic aspects related to the use of space resources for human and robotic exploration, as well as for a future in-space economy", explained Mathias Link, Director of ESRIC. "By partnering with public and private international players in this field, we want to create a hub of excellence for space resources in Europe. The Airbus-ESRIC collaboration is very promising, and I am delighted that we could sign it today".

As part of their strategic partnership, ESRIC and Airbus will further develop technologies to produce oxygen on the moon and feedstock production from regolith and recycling metals, with the aim of realising a ground-based end-to-end ISRU demonstrator of a future ISRU pilot plant.

Airbus is focusing on the key bricks for a lunar ecosystem: aside from developing the technology to get vehicles and cargo dedicated to the exploration and extraction of resources to the surface of the moon, it is also developing the ROXY system to extract oxygen and metals, which are key elements of a sustainable lunar presence, from lunar regolith. Further down the value chain, the aerospace company will develop technologies to recycle material in situ.

"LIST is honoured to have Airbus Defence & Space as a new partner", commented Thomas Kallstenius, CEO of LIST. "This new partnership with its bold ambitions is perfectly aligned with our mission of pushing the frontiers in research to develop high-impact innovation. Airbus can fully count on LIST R&D expertise and competencies and we are looking forward to launching the first projects together with them!".