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US and Luxembourg sign 'space commerce' pact

Asteroid mining is likely high on the list of priorities.
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dottedhippo via Getty Images

The current US government relishes the thought of bringing business to space, and it's now eager to make deals with countries that share the same dreams. The US has signed a memorandum of understanding with Luxembourg in a bid to cooperate further on space exploration, research and, to no one's surprise, a "business-friendly regulatory framework." Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister Étienne Schneider didn't mince words when talking about the pact -- his country is eager to make asteroid mining a reality, and the US relationship could be an "important step forward" in making use of those resources.

The US Commerce Department tempered expectations somewhat by noting that this is ultimately a "vehicle" for team-ups rather than a formal alliance. As a member of the European Union, Luxembourg can only realistically do so much without involving its EU neighbors. Still, it won't be surprising if space commerce gets a significant boost through this agreement -- even if it takes years to see the results.

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