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February 3, 2016

21ST CENTURY HEADLINES: Luxembourg to invest in space-based asteroid mining.

The Luxembourg government on Feb. 3 announced it would seek to jump-start an industrial sector to mine asteroid resources in space by creating regulatory and financial incentives.

The incentives include co-investment in research and development and, eventually, direct capital investment in space resource-mining companies setting up shop in Luxembourg.

Announced by Vice Prime Minister Etienne Schneider, who is also the nation’s economics minister, the initiative has already lured U.S.-based Deep Space Industries of Mountain View, California, to create a Luxembourg subsidiary. Schneider said other U.S. companies, including SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, and Planetary Resources of Redmond, Washington, are in talks with Luxembourg authorities regarding the Spaceresources.lu venture.

Luxembourg is home to satellite fleet operator SES, whose ascension from outsider-startup status in the 1980s to today’s place as one of the two largest commercial fleet operators by revenue Schneider cited an example of what is possible when Luxembourg sets its mind to something.

SES in the past three years has been the biggest commercial backer of SpaceX, whose stated corporate mission is the establishment of a human colony on Mars. Schneider said extracting water from asteroids to create fuel for deep-space missions is one application of space mining.

Faster, please.