Enigmatic Galaxy Encircling Luxembourg’s 1st Satellite

If the program is held, it is normally this year that the LUXEOSys satellite will be launched. An Earth observation machine which, before positioning itself in its orbit at an altitude of 450 km, will have already made Luxembourg deputies dizzy. Indeed, since the announcement of the project, the bill will have increased from 170 million euros to take off towards 350 M€!

At the Ministry of Defense, François Bausch (déi Gréng) had already explained this doubling of the investment. Attempting to argue at an embarrassed press conference in 2020 that his predecessor Etienne Schneider (LSAP) had arguably failed to count full system maintenance. An oversight at 170 million therefore…

This week, the Budget Execution Control Commission submitted its report on the opaque way in which, in the end, this file was presented to the Chamber of Deputies. Guy Arendt, co-rapporteur of the report, does not hesitate to speak of “rush” in the preparations for the 2018 finance bill which was to launch this 1st satellite desired by the Grand Duchy.

In fact, when they said banco in the file, the deputies were only presented with the invoice for the acquisition and launch of the device. The construction of antennas allowing the transfer of data captured from space, the operational management over the 10 years of operation of the machine or the means of broadcasting the recorded images would thus not have been taken into account in the addition presented.

Sincerity, vigilance

Another problem highlighted by Nancy Arendt, the other co-rapporteur, is that no evaluation of the economic benefits of the project has been demonstrated. However, the initiators of LUXEOSys assured that part of the images captured would be provided to civilian users and international organizations such as the European Union, NATO, the UN or the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Except that once the project was approved five years ago, there was no going back. In 2020, the Minister of Defense had thus warned: “If we decide to stop the project, we lose the sum of 145 million euros”…

This article is originally published on lesfrontaliers.lu

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