Higher Education & Research Minister Claude Meisch and Economy Minister Franz Fayot visit the LunaLab of the SnT of the University of Luxembourg; Credit: © SIP / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen

During a press conference on Wednesday 3 August 2022, Luxembourg's Minister of Economy, Franz Fayot, and the Minister of Higher Education and Research, Claude Meisch, presented the concept of the future "Space Campus", which will be dedicated exclusively to the space sector to ensure the competitive position of companies and public research institutions in this field.

The infrastructure project aims to facilitate installation and bring together players from the national and international space ecosystem who are already present or wish to settle in Luxembourg.

In order to best meet the needs of the Luxembourg ecosystem, the campus will be implemented on two separate sites each with a different focus, namely activities directly related to businesses and those related to public space research, respectively.

Poudrerie de Luxembourg site

The main site of the Space Campus, with a total area of ​​nearly 7 hectares, will be located in Kockelscheuer (municipality of Roeser) in the ParcLuxite for high-tech activities. The site will host the headquarters of the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) as well as activities directly related to space companies. Located on the site of the former Poudrerie de Luxembourg (powder mill), this unique infrastructure includes office space, shared technical infrastructure (including a test centre with a surface area of ​​3,000m2) and an incubator to house startups in the space sector. The new infrastructures, the laying of the foundation stone of which is scheduled for 2024, will be put in place in compliance with best practices in terms of the environment, urban mobility and the well-being of people. The first buildings are expected to be operational in 2026.

Esch-Belval site

The Space Campus will include a second site in Esch-Belval with an initial area of ​​69 acres, with the possibility of eventually occupying 1.9 hectares. Located opposite the open car park near the Maison du Savoir of the University of Luxembourg, the Esch-Belval site will eventually bring together the activities and space research laboratories of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) of the University of Luxembourg as well as and the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) of the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST). The majority of public space research activities will therefore be concentrated in the future in Esch-Belval within the Cité des Sciences on a single site.

The creation of the Space Campus is part of the dynamic of achievements made by the Ministry of the Economy and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research since the launch of the SpaceResources.lu initiative in 2016 with, among other things, the creation of the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) in 2018, the launch of the interdisciplinary master's degree in space at the University of Luxembourg in February 2019 and the creation, in 2020, of ESRIC within LIST, which is an initiative of LSA, LIST and the European Space Agency (ESA) as a strategic partner.

Since 2016, Luxembourg's space sector has developed strongly and today there are around 75 players (companies and research institutions) active in the sector and employing a total of nearly 1,200 people.

The press conference to present the Space Campus was held with the participation of the Mayors of Roeser, Tom Jungen, and Venant Krier, Managing Director of Poudrerie de Luxembourg SA.

Luxembourg's Minister of Higher Education and Research, Claude Meisch, commented: "The 'Space Campus' is part of the logic of the national research and innovation strategy aimed at optimal coordination between government, public research and the private for the benefit of the country. Thus, the Belval site for the public research component is perfectly complementary with the Kockelscheuer site for the business component, thus forming a public-private value chain. This chain extends from the creation of skills, with the Space Master of the University of Luxembourg, to long-term innovations such as the exploitation of space resources targeted by ESRIC while integrating companies in the space that constitute the last link in this highly innovative and competitive chain".

Economy Minister Franz Fayot added: "Ultimately, the campus has the ambition to become the centre of gravity of the Luxembourg space ecosystem. It will be the tangible expression of the investment of the country in general and of the Ministry of the Economy in particular in this area and will strengthen the visibility as well as the attractiveness of the Grand Duchy on the national, European and international scene, with economic actors and the scientific community".

Roeser Mayor Tom Jungen said: "The announcement of the establishment of part of the future 'Space Campus' at ParcLuxite in Kockelscheuer is part of the commitments of my municipality in the reassignment of this industrial site, used for more than 100 years, by a new innovative, sustainable and high-tech business park. The municipality of Roeser will collaborate with the State, the Poudrerie de Luxembourg and all the actors concerned to advance the 'Space Campus' in the best possible conditions".

Venant Krier, Managing Director of Poudrerie de Luxembourg SA, added: "'From iron mines underground to space outside orbit': indeed, this beautiful industrial zone, which once housed 53 buildings for the manufacture of explosives serving mainly to extract iron ore from mines across and around Luxembourg, has been converted over the past ten years into a place that receives technology companies from various sectors, such as Schroeder & Associés, Kleos Space or Losch with its developments in electric mobility. The accommodation of the 'Space Campus' will certainly be the high point of this successful reconversion".