Artemis Accords

Artemis Accords

Artemis Accords

About

  • Artemis Accords were established by the U.S. State Department and NASA with seven other founding members: Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom in 2020 for setting common principles to govern civil exploration and use of outer space, the moon, Mars, comets, and asteroids, for peaceful purposes.
  • It builds upon the foundation of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.
  • The Outer Space Treaty, a multilateral pact under the United Nations, serves as the foundation for international space law.
  • The treaty emphasizes space as a shared resource for humanity prohibits national appropriation, and encourages the peaceful use of space.

Signatory Countries

Artemis Accords

India became the 27th country to sign the non-binding Artemis Accords.

Commitments under the Artemis Accords

  • Peaceful Purposes: The signatories will implement the memorandum of understanding (MOUs) between governments or agencies to conduct space activities for peaceful purposes in accordance with international law.
  • Common Infrastructure: Signatories recognize the importance of common exploration infrastructure to enhance scientific discovery and commercial utilization.
  • Registration and Data Sharing: Relevant space objects are registered, and scientific data is openly shared in a timely manner. Private sectors are exempt unless acting on behalf of a signatory.
  • Preservation of Heritage: Signatories are expected to preserve historic landing sites, artifacts, and evidence of activity on celestial bodies.
  • Utilization of Space Resources: Utilization of space resources should support safe and sustainable activities and not interfere with other signatories’ activities. Information on location and nature must be shared to prevent interference.
  • Mitigation of Debris: Signatories plan for the safe disposal of spacecraft and limit the generation of harmful debris.

Main Missions under the Artemis Program

Artemis-I: Unmanned Mission to the Moon

  • The Artemis program began with the launch of the spacecraft named “Orion” on the Space Launch System (SLS) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on November 16, 2022.
  • The SLS, a super heavy-lift launch vehicle, carried Orion on a single mission directly to the moon.

Artemis-II: Crewed Lunar Flyby Mission:

  • Scheduled for 2024, Artemis-II will mark the first crewed mission under the Artemis program.
  • Four astronauts will be aboard the SLS as it performs multiple maneuvers on an expanding orbit around Earth.
  • The mission will also involve a lunar flyby and return to Earth.

Artemis-III: Human Return to the Moon:

  • Set for 2025, Artemis-III will mark a significant milestone in human space exploration as astronauts return to the moon.
  • This mission will go beyond the lunar flyby of Artemis-II, allowing astronauts to land on the lunar surface and study the moon more extensively.
  • Also, the establishment of a Lunar Gateway station is planned for 2029. This station will serve as a docking point for astronauts and facilitate scientific research and experiments.

Benefits and Challenges for India Related to the Artemis Accords

Benefits

  • India’s participation in the Artemis Accords facilitates access to advanced training, technological advancements, and scientific opportunities.
  • India can leverage the Artemis program to advance its own lunar exploration goals, such as the Chandrayaan-3 mission.
  • Collaborating with NASA would enhance India’s capabilities for the Gaganyaan human mission and future ambitious space missions.
  • Also, India’s cost-effective missions and innovative approach will benefit the Artemis program, promoting mutual advancements in space exploration.

Challenges

  • The possibility of being seen as aligning with the U.S. against other major space powers, such as China and Russia, who have their plans for lunar exploration.
  • The uncertainty over the legal status and implications of the Artemis Accords, especially regarding the provision that allows for unregulated mining on the moon and other celestial bodies.
  • The need to balance its commitments under the Artemis Accords with its obligations under other existing or emerging multilateral frameworks or treaties on outer space.

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