Recently, India became the 27th country to sign the Artemis Accords. The Artemis Accords establish a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations, including those participating in NASA’s Artemis program. Read here to learn more about the accords and their significance for India.
India agreed to follow the finest space exploration practices by joining the Artemis Accords. India has already ratified the Outer Space Treaty and the related international agreements that uphold the same ideals.
India has firmly backed a US-led alliance on space issues by joining the Accords, an alliance that presently and most certainly in the future would exclude Russia and China, two of the most significant spacefaring states.
So, what are the Artemis accords? What is the significance of the accords?
Also read: NASA’s Viper Mission: All you need to know
NASA, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State, established the Artemis Accords in 2020 together with seven other founding member nations.
- The other founding members were Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, UAE, and the UK.
- 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 behavior that NASA and its partners have supported, including the public release of scientific data.
- These are a non-binding set of principles to guide civil space exploration.
- Additional signatories include Ukraine, South Korea, New Zealand, Brazil, Poland, Mexico, Israel, Romania, Bahrain, Singapore, Colombia, France, Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Nigeria, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Ecuador.
The purpose of these Accords is to establish a shared vision via a practical set of principles, guidelines, and best practices to enhance the governance of the city exploration and use of outer space to advance the Artemis Program.
- Adherence to a practical set of principles, guidelines, and best practices in carrying out activities in outer space is intended to increase the safety of operations, reduce uncertainty, and promote the sustainable and beneficial use of space for all humankind.
- The Accords represent a political commitment to the principles described herein, many of which provide for the operational implementation of important obligations in the Outer Space Treaty and other instruments.
The signatories agree to take appropriate steps to ensure that entities acting on its behalf comply with the principles of these Accords.
- They affirm that cooperative activities under these Accords should be exclusively for peaceful purposes and by relevant international law.
- Are committed to transparency in the broad dissemination of information regarding their national space policies and space exploration plans by their national rules and regulations.
- They commit to taking all reasonable efforts to render necessary assistance to personnel in outer space who are in distress and acknowledge their obligations under the Rescue and Return Agreement.
- The Signatories retain the right to communicate and release information to the public regarding their activities.
- They intend to preserve outer space heritage, which they consider to comprise historically significant human or robotic landing sites, artifacts, spacecraft, and other evidence of activity on celestial bodies by mutually developed standards and practices.
- The Signatories note that the utilization of space resources can benefit humankind by providing critical support for safe and sustainable operations.
- They acknowledge and reaffirm their commitment to the Outer Space Treaty, including those provisions relating to due regard and harmful interference.
- The Signatories commit to planning for the mitigation of orbital debris, including the safe, timely, and efficient passivation and disposal of spacecraft at the end of their missions, when appropriate, as part of their mission planning process.
Through the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, make new scientific discoveries, and explore more of the lunar surface than ever before for the benefit of all.
- Artemis program means Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence, and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun.
- NASA will collaborate with commercial and international partners to establish the first long-term human-robotic presence on and around the Moon.
- Then, the lessons learned on and at the Moon will be used to take the next giant leap: sending the first astronauts to Mars.
With Artemis NASA plans to:
- Demonstrate new technologies, capabilities, and business approaches needed for future exploration including Mars
- Study the Moon to learn more about the origin and history of Earth, the Moon, and our solar system
- Establish American leadership and a strategic presence on the Moon while expanding our U.S. global economic impact
- Broaden the commercial and international partnerships
- Inspire a new generation and encourage careers in STEM
Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo and the goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology.
Significance of the Artemis Accords for India
NASA and ISRO have agreed to launch a joint mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024.
India’s choice to sign the Artemis Accords shows how committed it is to international space cooperation and how eager it is to take part in lunar exploration missions.
- By signing the agreement, India can work with other countries, notably the United States, on upcoming Moon missions.
- This partnership makes it possible to share information and skills, advancing scientific inquiry, technological innovation, and the expansion of humanity’s presence in space.
- To create a viable and long-lasting presence on the Moon, cooperation with other nations is crucial to the deal. The journey to Mars, which would be the first time astronauts have visited the red planet, depends on its presence.
Many of the space activities India intends to carry out, including manned flights, moon landings, planetary exploration, and the construction of a space station, have previously been accomplished by nations like the US, Russia, or China.
- The advantage of doing it alone is that it adds knowledge and assurance. But attempting to recreate the wheel has its drawbacks as well.
- The possibility of getting left behind exists. India has the resources and experience necessary to send manned space missions, and it has already successfully landed a satellite on the moon. It’s heavily influenced by the early regime of technological denial.
However, historically speaking, Russia has been India’s most dependable partner in the space industry, just as it has been in the defense industry. Russian facilities were reportedly offered to train Indian astronauts for the Gaganyaan mission.
Russia is unlikely to see joining an alliance that is perceived as serving to further US space objectives favorably.
Since the conflict in Ukraine, India has had to achieve the same careful and sensitive balance in the energy industry.
-Article by Swathi Satish