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ESRIC and Airbus Defence and Space to collaborate on lunar resources extraction technologies

This Strategic Partnership will support the development of key European In-Situ Resources Utilisation technologies, accelerating the development of the Moon Economy around Space Resources.

(photo SIP/Emmanuel Claude)

European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Airbus to collaborate on lunar resources extraction technologies. This will lead to the development of key In-Situ Resources Utilisation (ISRU) technologies, in the domains of resources processing and material recycling.

The ability of using local resources will be a key element in keeping a sustainable robotic and human presence on the Moon. With that aim, Luxembourg has developed a strategy in Space Resources for years and created ESRIC in 2020 in order to support the European effort in that domain, in partnership with ESA and LIST.

"ESRIC aims to become the internationally recognised centre of expertise for scientific, technical, business and economic aspects related to the use of space resources for human and robotic exploration, as well as for a future in-space economy", says Mathias Link, director of ESRIC. "By partnering with public and private international players in this field, we want to create a hub of excellence for space resources in Europe. The Airbus-ESRIC collaboration is very promising, and I am delighted that we could sign it today."

In the frame of this Strategic Partnership, Airbus and ESRIC will further develop technologies to produce oxygen on the Moon and feedstock production from regolith and recycling metals, with the aim to realize a ground based end-to-end ISRU demonstrator of a future ISRU pilot plant.

Airbus is focusing on the key bricks for a lunar ecosystem: aside from developing the technology to get vehicles and cargo dedicated to the exploration and extraction of resources to the surface of the Moon, it is also developing the ROXY system to extract oxygen and metals, which are key elements of a sustainable lunar presence, from lunar regolith. Further down the value chain, Airbus is also developing technologies to recycle material in situ.

"LIST is honoured to have Airbus Defence & Space as a new partner", starts Thomas Kallstenius, CEO of LIST. "This new partnership with its bold ambitions is perfectly aligned with our mission of pushing the frontiers in research to develop high-impact innovation. Airbus can fully count on LIST R&D expertise and competencies and we are looking forward to launching the first projects together with them!"

About ESRIC

Based in Luxembourg, the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) fosters innovation and growth in the space resources industry by connecting leading academic, industrial and entrepreneurial talents. ESRIC's activities are based on four main pillars: space resources research and development, support for economic activities, knowledge management, and community management. Launched in November 2020, ESRIC is an initiative of the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) in strategic partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA).

Press release by the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) and the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC)