THE GRAND DUCHY OF LUXEMSPACE IS AT IT AGAIN

THE GRAND DUCHY OF LUXEMSPACE IS AT IT AGAIN…

There has been a lot of space news to come through from the Gizars this week, so today I'm kicking off the "Space-related" part of this week's blogs. T.M. spotted this one and it's one of those "quiet but important" stories, and it concerns our old friend, the "Mouse that Roared," the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, that tiny banking country in Europe that has very large space ambitions:

Luxembourg and US agree to deepen cooperation in space

According to the article, the Grand Duchy and the USA have signed a memorandum of understanding concerning space development, but the article says little about what that memorandum of understanding contains, other than to note this:

The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday to boost research, exploration, defence, and space commerce as well as tackle problems like regulatory reform and space debris.

"It covers the broadest possible range of space activities to be undertaken by the two countries as an important next wave of economic growth," US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said during a visit to Luxembourg to sign the deal.

Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg's deputy prime minister and economy minister, said the deal was "another important step forward" to enhance international space cooperation.

I strongly suspect, and probably many readers of this blog will as well, that this memorandum of understanding contains a few "secret protocols." But there is a hint at what is happening, and it's a strong one:

In 2015, the United States adopted the Space Act to allow for the exploration and commercial exploitation of space resources.

In 2017, Luxembourg introduced a law guaranteeing space companies ownership of resources acquired in space, the first country to do so in the 28-nation European Union.

What this portends is that bi-lateral agreements are being made to create a template by-passing existing international treaties, allowing private space corporations to claim ownership of space resources: if you can get there and mine the resources, they're yours. What Luxembourg's involvement in all this means is perhaps it is making a play, a big play, to become the space-version of The City of London, the Earth-based center of interplanetary financial clearing, and its recent moves to place satellites in orbit and then rent them out tends to confirm this view.

In support of this high octane speculation, the article notes something else:

Luxembourg has already signed space agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Japan and China as well as fellow EU countries Poland, the Czech Republic and Belgium.

In total, some 20 private firms involved in space work have established themselves in Luxembourg, officials said.

What this suggests is that Luxembourg is (1) negotiating bi-laterally with other countries to get them to acknowledge the rights of corporations established in Luxembourg to conduct space business, and (2) is perhaps also negotiating for physical infrastructure in those various countries to support any interplanetary clearing role it wishes to play.

Such a position in an interplanetary clearing system would give Luxembourg unprecedented power, and heralds the way that space will completely change the nature of geopolitical power. For example, "strategic depth" will come to mean something very different than it currently does, with depth meaning countries with a lot of land - China, Russia, Brazil, the USA - and come to me infrastructure redundancy in space, and a "depth" and dispersion of assets in space. With that kind of playing field, smaller countries like Luxembourg can play a much larger strategic role, one far beyond the limitations of their terrestrial physical size. The fact that the USA, China, and Japan have already concluded deals with the Grand Duchy also strongly suggests that there is tacit, though at this point, secret  agreement among the great powers that Luxembourg is the "designated center" of such a system.

And that means, inevitably, we'll have to talk about the Moon, but we'll have to wait until tomorrow to do that...

See you on the flip side...

12 thoughts on “THE GRAND DUCHY OF LUXEMSPACE IS AT IT AGAIN…”

  1. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180716-the-tiny-nation-leading-a-new-space-race

    There now are 10 space-mining companies (including ispace) legally domiciled in Luxembourg since the launch of the country’s space resources law in February 2016. This was fuelled by a fund worth $223m (200m euros/£176m). For these space ventures, the Moon is one of two primary targets being considered; commercial ventures also are eyeing near-Earth asteroids for mining metallic resources

  2. An agreement sounds straight forward enough, but it doesn’t elaborate on the participating countries interests or their inherent methods of governance and, especially, policy influence on towards other global co-signees. What isn’t mentioned is what underlies the superfluous fluff of diplomacy talk.
    For instance, a very big major co-signee and an ambitious one at that is China. It’s power structure has no meaningful set of checks and balances. Their actions are of the ordained single-party rule – Their one-road silk road way. . . .

    . . . “China does NOT walk the western road of constitutionalism, separation of powers, or judicial independence. . . “ His Excellency, Xi Jinping

    There is no reason to assume that they will observe western rule of law in space coming out of Luxembourg, US, or from any other co-signee, either. Likely, one of the reasons why Huawei is such a big deal these days when intellectual property rights are factored into the bigger picture. . .

  3. As I’ve said here before, they have to get the problem with space sickness solved.
    People who have spent a long time on the ISS come back to earth with all kinds of medical problems. So all this who har about people living on the moon or mars is all cosmic dreaming, so ………….forrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggeeeedddaboutit

  4. From cited article: “In 2017, Luxembourg introduced a law guaranteeing space companies ownership of resources acquired in space…”

    ‘Resources’ is an interesting, vague term. What if resources includes not only asteroids for mining, water claims on other worlds, etc., but also newly-discovered (alien or ancient civilization) spaceships and bases?

    Luxembourg may be a mutually-acceptable location for known Great Powers (America, Russia, China, etc.) and unknown Great Powers (SSP, resident aliens, etc.) to ‘bargain’ over newly-discovered tech rather than go to WWIII over it…

  5. That Delta-V novel had Luxemburg playing the finance role in space w/the required compliance in bureaucratic hoops to jump through.
    Space is then on a you get there first with checking off the required boxes and you own that asteroid or….?
    But, space is then defined as a privately owned sandbox in escrow, that can be own by any corporation that complies with the private rules,
    It’s back to the future w/East India Companies taking ownership by force. They’ll be laws supporting this and that by agreements & treaties; but the real essence will be force.
    There’s your literal meaning of “Space Force”.
    Now it will be Nation States. But the real puppeteers will be the East India Companies; aka, transnationals, like the international banking cartel[s].

    1. Just finished One Way by S.J. Morden.
      A corporation is bound to be first to claim an area of Mars. In order, to finance it this venture and satisfy shareholders they buy a private prison corporation and then designate the site on Mars as a prison building site. They find prisoners sentenced to life w/o parole and make a deal w/them. They find 8 in shape w/the skills needed to set up a base that NASA wants built. The prisoners are expendable. In fact, they are not known to be on Mars.[Luxemburg business reporter, who was about to break the story, was permanently eliminated].
      Long story short: slave labor, that can be exterminated w/o anyone knowing, except those in an exclusive corporate loop. All proprietary information. All in the name of profit. Being first on Mars meant no regard for human life.
      Life is simply another resource to be exploited.

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