The Artemis program, led by NASA, marks a new era of international cooperation in space exploration and utilization. With its foundation in Space Policy Directive 1 , Artemis seeks to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. The United States recognizes that international partnerships will play a key role in this endeavor and in achieving a sustainable and robust presence on the Moon while preparing to conduct a historic human mission to Mars.
The signing of the Artemis Accords between the United States and several partner countries on October 13 marked a huge step forward in establishing a set of principles to guide a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future for space exploration. With numerous countries and private sector space actors conducting or planning to conduct missions and operations between the Earth and the Moon, it is vitally important to establish a coalition of like-minded partners. The founding member nations that have signed the Artemis Accords are:
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
The Artemis Accords reinforce and implement the 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, otherwise known as the “Outer Space Treaty.” They also reinforce the commitment by the U.S. and partner nations to the Registration Convention, the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Liability Convention, and other norms of behavior that NASA and its partners have supported, including the full and public release of scientific data. This framework is intended to increase the safety of operations, reduce uncertainty, and promote the sustainable and beneficial use of space for all of humanity.
International cooperation on Artemis is intended not only to bolster space exploration but also to enhance peaceful relationships among nations. The United States welcomes greater international recognition of the importance of space resources to safe and sustainable exploration and development, and the role that commercial industry can play in efficiently obtaining and utilizing such resources.
The Department of State continues to play an important role in strengthening U.S. leadership in space by pursing and maintaining a rules-based international framework for the long-term sustainability, commercialization, and utilization of space. The Department will continue to strengthen America’s role in coalitions with like-minded partners to extend human presence deeper into outer space for long-term exploration and utilization. Together with NASA, the Office of Space and Advanced Technology will continue to carry out diplomatic efforts to strengthen understanding of, and support for, the Artemis Accords and the Artemis Program. Working with existing partners, as well as with emerging space agencies, the U.S. government will add new energy and capabilities to ensure the entire world can benefit from the Artemis journey of exploration, and discovery.
Read and watch our recent Foreign Press Center briefing on the Artemis Accords, which includes remarks from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and NASA Acting Associate Administrator for International and Interagency Relations Mike N. Gold, here.
Watch the full Artemis Accords signing ceremony:
About the Author: Carolyn Pace serves as a Program Analyst for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Office of Science and Advanced Technology at the U.S. Department of State.