India became the 27th country to sign the Artemis Accords for peaceful space exploration for non-military purposes and will help in a manned mission to the International Space Station (ISS) next year.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson participated in the signing ceremony for the agency and Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India’s ambassador to the United States, signed on behalf of India.
The Artemis Accords are a set of norms governing space exploration and allow states to join NASA’s Artemis programme. India’s endorsement of the 1979 Moon Agreement is seen as antiquated and shackling its true potential for economics-driven space exploration.
“On behalf of NASA, on behalf of President Biden and Vice President Harris, we are very pleased to grow our partnership with India here on Earth and in space,” said Administrator Bill Nelson. “As we venture farther out into the cosmos than ever before, how we go is as important as what we do when we reach our destinations. We want to go in a peaceful way. We want to go in a transparent way. And we want to support each other in times of trouble. We are very grateful for India’s leadership in signing the Artemis Accords and look forward to all that we will accomplish together.”
“India is taking a landmark step in becoming a party to the Artemis Accords, a momentous occasion for our bilateral space cooperation,” said Sandhu. “We reiterate India’s commitment to space exploration underpinned by new levels of cooperation and progress. India is a responsible space power and places the highest importance on the peaceful and sustainable use of outer space. We are confident that the Artemis Accords will advance a rule-based approach to outer space. It also underlines our collective belief that exploration is not just the pursuit of knowledge – of knowing the unknown – but is a catalyst in advancing the betterment of humanity. In that sense, signing of these Accords highlights the evolution of a partnership into one for global good.”
NASA, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State, established the Artemis Accords in 2020 together with seven other founding member nations. The Artemis Accords reinforce and implement key obligations in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. They also reinforce the commitment by the United States and signatory nations to the Registration Convention, the Rescue and Return Agreement, as well as best practices and norms of responsible behaviour that NASA and its partners have supported, including the public release of scientific data.
Additional countries will sign the Artemis Accords in the months and years ahead, as NASA continues to work with its international partners to establish a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space. Working with both new and existing partners will add new energy and capabilities to ensure the entire world can benefit from our journey of exploration and discovery.
PRINCIPLES OF THE ACCORD
- Peaceful Exploration: All activities conducted under the program must be for peaceful purposes
- Transparency: Artemis Accords signatories will conduct their activities in a transparent fashion to avoid confusion and conflicts
- Interoperability: Nations participating in the program will strive to support interoperable systems to enhance safety and sustainability
- Emergency Assistance: Artemis Accords signatories commit to rendering assistance to personnel in distress
- Registration of Space Objects: Any nation participating in THE PROGRAMME must be a signatory to the Registration Convention or become a signatory with alacrity
- Release of Scientific Data: Artemis Accords signatories commit to the public release of scientific information, allowing the whole world to join us on the Artemis journey
- Preserving Heritage: the signatories commit to preserving outer space heritage
- Space Resources: Extracting and utilizing space resources is key to safe and sustainable exploration and the signatories affirm that such activities should be conducted in compliance with the Outer Space Treaty
- Deconfliction of Activities: The Artemis Accords nations commit to preventing harmful interference and supporting the principle of due regard, as required by the Outer Space Treaty
- Orbital Debris: Artemis Accords countries commit to planning for the safe disposal of debris