Luxembourg’s Directorate of Defence (DoD) has signed a letter of intent (LoI) with Virgin Orbit to develop responsive space capabilities.

The LoI was signed between Luxembourg’s Defence Minister François Bausch and Virgin Orbit’s CEO Dan Hart during a ceremony in Luxembourg on 17 October.  

The agreement also includes setting up a mobile launch infrastructure in Luxembourg that can be accessed by other Nato allied and partner nations across Europe.

The associated work will start with an initial assessment process to see how this Luxembourg-based responsive space capability can be adapted and optimised to benefit Nato and European allied nations.

The company will carry out this assessment in collaboration with Luxembourg’s DoD.

Hart said: “We look forward to working with Luxembourg DoD to explore how Virgin Orbit’s flexible and mobile LauncherOne system can provide end-to-end responsive space missions to strengthen resiliency of Nato and other Allies.”

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As part of the latest effort, Virgin Orbit will prepare a plan for the development, delivery, mobilisation and sustainment of its LauncherOneground support equipment that can be utilised by allies.

LauncherOne is a flexible launch system that can provide mobile, rapid, transportable and responsive launch services to develop a global spaceport network.

The initiative will further see DoD and Virgin Orbit engage with the interested partner nations to identify necessary operating requirements for delivering the new capability.

Once developed, the Luxembourg-based responsive launch infrastructure is expected to support the allied nations in carrying out horizontal launches using an active and on-call spaceports network in Europe.

Bausch said: “As highlighted in our Space Strategy, we aim at contributing to the joint effort in defence by developing high-end space capabilities and ensuring access to space through resilient satellite launch capabilities.”