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Luxembourg is further strengthening its status as a European pioneer in the development of commercial activities in space. After launching the Spaceresources.lu initiative in 2017 and passing a law defining a legal framework for the exploitation of space resources, the country now intends to actively attract start-ups active in this field. For the first time this year, the Fit 4 Start acceleration programme will therefore welcome five start-ups active in the space sector.

Since 2015, the Ministry of the Economy in collaboration with Luxinnovation has been offering an intensive coaching programme with funding of up to €150,000 for start-ups active in the ICT sector. It is organised twice a year, each time over a period of 4 months, and hosts between 10 and 15 companies during each session.

20 companies will be selected during the Selection & Graduation Day on 3 October, including 10 ICT companies, 5 healthtech companies and 5 space companies.

After a successful first pilot programme in the field of health technologies (healthtech) at its 7th edition in the autumn of 2018, Fit 4 Start is now opening up to space and more particularly to the downstream sector of value-added applications and services developed from space-based data combined or not with data from other sources, whether airborne, in-situ or from social networks.

For this Fit 4 Start #9, 20 companies will be selected during the Selection & Graduation Day on 3 October, including 10 ICT companies, 5 healthtech companies and 5 space companies.

Premium access to the LSA data center

Luxembourg was the first country in the world with the United States of America to pass a law authorising the commercial exploitation of space resources in 2017. A year later, the country launched a space agency to support the industrial development of this sector, the Luxembourg Space Agency.

In May, it inaugurated a data centre dedicated to space observation data. “A first step to facilitate access to space data with the aim to stimulate new services provided by Luxembourg as a hub for commercial space in Europe,” said its CEO, Marc Serres.

A first step to facilitate access to space data with the aim to stimulate new services provided by Luxembourg as a hub for commercial space in Europe.

This data centre contains data from the Sentinel 1 and Sentinel 2 Earth observation satellites of the European Copernicus system. Start-ups selected for the Fit 4 Start Space programme will benefit from premium access to this data centre. They will also be eligible for an access request to the “data lake” of Spire Luxembourg. These are specific features that give this acceleration programme a unique character.

This new offer for start-ups shows the willingness of this country located in the centre of Europe to position itself in a rapidly developing and highly coveted niche. More than a hundred companies in the space sector, particularly from Japan and the United States, have already chosen Luxembourg. The existence of a solid legal framework, the openness of government and the rapid growth of its ecosystem are the main attractions.

Photo: Luxinnovation/Marie De Decker

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