The Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, participated in the Council of the European Space Agency (ESA) at Ministerial Level on 22 and 23 November 2022 in Paris to determine the major strategic orientations and the budget of the agency for the 2023-2027 period. Organized every 3 years, this council was an opportunity for the Luxembourg delegation, composed of Minister Franz Fayot and the Luxembourg Space Agency team, to reaffirm the commitment of the Grand Duchy in the various ESA programs.
Luxembourg invests in thematic areas and markets with high potential for the Grand Duchy, whether commercial or linked to major EU programs, namely satellite communications, Earth observation, satellite navigation, exploration, security including cybersecurity, generic technological development, and commercialization. These investments are materialized by Luxembourg's subscription to ESA's optional and mandatory programs related to these thematic areas.
The financial commitment of Luxembourg in the ESA programs, amounting to 127 million euros for the 2023-2027 period, supports the development of the Luxembourg space ecosystem. ESA operates on the basis of a "geographical return", which means that the European Agency invests in Luxembourg, in the form of contracts awarded to the Luxembourg industry, an amount roughly equivalent to the contribution of the Grand Duchy to ESA. The resources invested in ESA programs allow Luxembourg-based companies to access European support programs and to develop their technologies, products and service solutions that can be commercialized in the years to come, thus generating added value for Luxembourg's economy.
"The contribution of the Grand Duchy to the ESA programs confirms our determination to establish the space sector as a major axis of the national economic development, while providing direct economic benefits to the Luxembourg space industry. I support ESA's approach around the three axes of sustainability of life on Earth and the fight against climate change, promotion of science and entrepreneurship. Bringing these three priorities together is essential for the dynamics of the European space sector," said the Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot.
New class of 2022 ESA astronauts
At the end of the council, the new class of astronauts was also unveiled at a press conference attended by more than 150 international journalists. Following the 22,523 applications received at the beginning of the process, 5 candidates were selected as active astronauts, 11 as reserve astronauts, and 1 astronaut for the Parastronaut feasibility project.
Among the new class of active astronauts is Raphaël Liégeois. Aged 34, the Belgian candidate also has since 2018 the Luxembourg nationality. He lived in Differdange where part of his family still resides.
"I would like to congratulate all the selected candidates in this new class of astronauts for their nomination. They are important ambassadors for Europe. They play a key role in the field of international cooperation, in which space is an example. I wish all the best to Raphaël, who will fly under the Belgian colours, and thanks to whom a small part of Luxembourg will also be present in space," says Marc Serres, CEO of the LSA, following the announcement of the selection.
Press release by the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA)