US: The government of Luxembourg has announced that three space companies – CubeRover, Hydrostat and Made In Space – will establish offices in the country, in many cases working with local universities and companies. The work those companies do in Luxembourg will range from development of robotic arms to small planetary rovers.
“The success of our development strategy for the space sector, including the recent launch of the Luxembourg Space Agency, is confirmed once more with the settlement in Luxembourg of three space companies that plan to employ up to 85 people in the Grand-Duchy by 2023,” said Étienne Schneider, deputy prime minister and minister of the economy of the Luxembourg government and the driving force for the country’s recent space initiatives.
The largest agreement, in terms of jobs created, goes to Made In Space. That company, best known for additive manufacturing work on the International Space Station, plans to work on a low-cost modular robotic arm for in-space applications and will create up to 50 jobs in the country.
“While we believe this product will reduce satellite makers’ barriers to greater capability on orbit, we also see our robotic arms as being integral to constructing space gateways, building lunar habitats and assisting in the in-space construction of future space stations,” said Jason Dunn, the founder of Made In Space, in a statement.
The company said that doing that work in Luxembourg allows it to “effectively partner” with European aerospace companies, although the company did not identify any specific partners. The robotic arm it develops in Luxembourg will initially be sold only in the European market before later offering it more broadly.
CubeRover, a spinoff of commercial lunar lander company Astrobotic, will set up operations in Luxembourg to develop rovers weighing as little as two kilograms for lunar exploration. Astrobotic has been working on the project internally, with some support from NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research program.
“As the market leader in commercial lunar activity, we developed CubeRover to respond to customer feedback for a low-cost mobile rover,” said John Thornton, chief executive of Astrobotic, in a statement. “We are thrilled to partner with the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy to spin out the CubeRover platform as its own enterprise.”
Hydrosat, a company specializing in data analytics using thermal infrared satellite imagery, will also set up its headquarters and R&D work in Luxembourg. “We were attracted by the excellent business environment and the cutting-edge data analytics in Luxembourg,” said Royce Dalby, chief executive of Hydrosat. “All the elements for success are here, thanks to a strong national commitment to the space sector that continues to grow every day.”