UK and NASA sign the Artemis Accords
Among other parties, NASA and the UK Space Agency have signed a historic agreement concerning the principles for space exploration, commercial activities, and scientific operations ahead of a proposed mission involving travel to the Moon.
NASA’s Artemis programme proposes to journey the first woman and the next man to the Moon by 2024. In order to obtain a sustainable presence on the surface of the Moon, both international and commercial partners will offer collaborative efforts in attempt to generate this steppingstone toward the first human mission to Mars.
The habitation module and the service module of the new space station set to orbit the Moon named the ‘Lunar Gateway’ will include heavy involvement from business across the UK. Over £16 million has been committed to the first stage of the design, which will generate a multitude of high-skilled jobs and economic benefits.
It is vital to establish the principles of governing the use of outer space and civil exploration, especially considering the growing number space operations conducted by numerous companies from all over the world.
The Artemis Accords are the guidelines ensuring a mutual understanding of the use of space resources, safe space operations, sharing scientific data all the while minimising space debris. These principles were developed through the collaborative efforts of the United States and the UK, along with additional spacefaring nations such as Australia, Italy, Japan, Canada, and the UAE.
Covering areas such as mining water-ice to make rocket fuel and for human consumption, the utilisation of resources, open data, common standards, safe operations and providing emergency assistance, the Artemis Accords are intended as an outline for best practice on the Moon and in space.
The accomplishment of a sustainable and reliable human presence on the Moon will require international collaboration with countries including the UK. These international collaborative efforts on Artemis are expected to improve diplomatic relationships among nations, all the while strengthening global space exploration. All activities under the Artemis mission are required to be conducted for peaceful purposes, in line with the Outer Space Treaty.
1. ADS Advance (2020), UK Space Agency signs the Artemis Accords
2. Gov.uk (2020), UK and NASA sign international agreement ahead of mission to the Moon
3. BBC (2020), Project Artemis: UK signs up to NASA’s Moon exploration principles
4. UK Space (2020), UK and NASA sign international agreement ahead of mission to the Moon