For the Grand Duchy, the aerospace sector is an essential component of its high-tech sector. The country's 'stellar' ambitions reach back to the beginning of the 1980s, with the creation of SES Astra, which provided the stimulus for the setting up of a number of dynamic businesses in the aerospace sector. The Grand Duchy seeks to attract small and medium-sized enterprises and large companies active in this area by providing a committed support and specialised structures.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg - a first-rate implantation location
At the beginning of the 1980s, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg made a head-start when it decided to take a gamble on the potential of the satellite industry. Today, the country hosts SES, the world's leading satellite operator, with a fleet of about fifty satellites.
This success brought a high concentration of dynamic companies in the aerospace sector into the Grand Duchy: Euro-Composites, Gradel, Hitec, Luxspace, and CTI Systems, to name but a few. Over the last decades, with diversification and innovation in mind, the Grand Duchy's successive Governments have stepped up their efforts in this direction.
Today, some 700 employees work in the aerospace sector in the Grand Duchy, whether in research and development, manufacturing, or operation.
Unlike other countries, the Grand Duchy does not have a national space agency. It sets more store by transnational collaboration.
Since 2005, when the Grand Duchy – after years of cooporation – became a full member of the European Space Agency (ESA), cooperation between the agency and the Grand Duchy has steadily intensified. Since then, the Grand Duchy has participated in a number of transnational research projects on the ESA's multiannual programme.
This membership has been a key element in the Grand Duchy's action plan with regard to space science and technology, the aim of which is to consolidate and make use of existing skills, particularly in the media and ICT sectors.
The Grand Duchy devotes 0.03% of its GDP to the ESA, and ranks fourth among European countries in terms of space investment.
Detecting the best ideas and support for the sector
A number of specialised structures are made available to businesses and research centres to help them find their place in the aerospace sector in the Grand Duchy.
Luxembourg Space Cluster
The Luxembourg Space Cluster is a network providing support for the various players in the Grand Duchy's aerospace sector by helping them to develop synergies and new national and international partnerships through research, development and innovation (RDI) projects.
GLAE (Groupement luxembourgeois de l'aéronautique et de l'espace)
The GLAE operates under the umbrella of the FEDIL to facilitate contacts among the businesses and research centres active in the aerospace field, and to help its members build up a network. Founded in 2005 as a direct consequence of the Grand Duchy's membership of the European Space Agency (ESA), the GLAE serves as the Government's contact for all matters concerning official initiatives under the ESA's programmes and in formulating the Grand Duchy's space policy.
The aim of the LuxLaunch programme initiated in 2005 is to provide support in detecting and implementing innovative ideas in the aerospace sector. The project helps Luxembourgish companies and researchers to assert themselves in the sector and improve their visibility within the networks of international stakeholders.
Luxinnovation, the national agency for the promotion of innovation and research, is the national contact point for all collaboration with the ESA. Luxinnovation encourages innovative activities and collaboration in European research programmes through the Luxembourg Space Cluster.
National research institutes
The companies of the aerospace sector also collaborate with national research institutes, such as the University of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), for satellite communications and earth observation.
HelloFuture is a project launched in early 2017 which aims to encourage young people to take up jobs in industry in the Grand Duchy, and hence jobs connected with the aerospace sector. A range of tools (Internet site, placement offers, tour of secondary schools, etc.) are available to young people aged 14 to 30 to provide them with more information on the subject.