ESRIC Announces Selected Startups For Its Space Resource Programme 

Earthrise (Photo © NASA)

The European Space Resources Innovation Centre has selected the next five space ventures to follow the three-month pre-incubation period of its Start-up Support Programme (SSP).

After kicking off the first edition of this unique programme last year, Europe’s leading research and innovation centre in the field of space resources is ready to go for round two. 

“The ESRIC Start-up Support Programme is a key element in Luxembourg‘s broad and ambitious vision to establishing a sustainable presence in space,” said Franz Fayot, Luxembourg’s minister of economy.

The programme’s first stage is a pre-incubation period of three months, after which only one of five startups will be selected to continue to the technical and market validation phase. During this critical first phase, the five ventures will be supported by a team of experts to validate their technical concepts and align them with market opportunities. 

While the commercialization of the startups is an important part of the programme, it also aims to stimulate new research and synergies in the burgeoning sector.

“We need strong links between research, innovation, and commercialization in this dynamic sector, therefore we are very excited to welcome five new ambitious start-ups that aim to address different aspects related to space resources,” said Kathryn Hadler, director of ESRIC.

With applications coming from 11 countries from all around the world, the selection committee ended up picking the five ventures that proved most relevant to the field of space resources. For more information on the previous edition’s participants and their achievements since joining the programme, see here

The five selected ventures are:

Lunar Outpost – Luxembourg

Lunar Outpost EU is developing technology for effective utilization of thermal energy during the harsh conditions of the lunar night. Their solution leverages resources found on the lunar surface to be cost-effective and scalable. Applied on Earth, this technology can enable clean energy and improve efficiency.

Lightigo Space – Czech Republic 

Lightigo Space is engaged in the development of instrumentation and methodology for material analysis by Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy. The LIBS technology can be used as a source of information about the elemental composition of unknown printing powders for metallic 3D printing, potentially speeding up the availability of parts and reducing the costs of transportation from ground to space.

Orbital Assembly – USA

Orbital Assembly is developing an innovative solution (Poly-X) to convert human metabolic waste into polymers. Waste materials present on human-occupied space stations that otherwise must be disposed of can be converted into useful polymers, to produce tools, personal protective equipment, medical devices, etc. 

Terra Luna Resources – Canada

Terra Luna aims to solve the challenge of converting mined ice into purified water, by developing a new, patentable, in-space “solar-still” style technology to refine lunar ice into water. The processing plant that the start-up aims to develop is a semi-passive system that would be placed in direct sunlight to extract and purify water from icy regolith, reducing overall power requirements.

Aurora Connect – Poland

The Genderless Dust Passive Power Connector consists of a symmetrical connector designed to transmit information and current. Earth’s infrastructure is unsuitable for the hard environment of the Moon and transmission of electricity is one of the key activities necessary for the smooth functioning of Lunar Habitats. The team aims to develop a specific technology that eliminates the need for mechanization, avoiding solutions with moving parts. 

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