Nations advance global partnership for space exploration

Nations are joining an international effort to ensure peaceful exploration of space, expanding the pool of innovation that will support future missions to the moon and beyond.

Brazil, South Korea and New Zealand each recently signed the Artemis Accords, guiding principles established in 2020 to ensure future space exploration is peaceful, sustainable and beneficial to all.

The new commitments bring the number of signatory countries to 12. Brazil is the first South American country to join. Already on board: Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine and the United States.

U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Todd Chapman said June 15 that Brazil’s joining the Artemis Accords bolsters the U.S.-Brazil partnership and supports peace and prosperity for both nations. “The U.S.-Brazil space collaboration helps ensure responsible and safe access and use of space for all of us,” he added.

Brazil’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Marcos Pontes said during a June 15 signing ceremony that joining the agreement will advance partnerships at home and abroad.

“We are promoting a great national effort, with the involvement of the Government and the Brazilian space industry,” he added.

The Artemis Accords’ call for sharing of scientific data will advance research in participating countries.

“New Zealand’s participation in the Accords is just a stepping stone for the incredible ingenuity and innovation in this country to push humanity further than it’s ever been before,” U.S. Chargé d’Affaires for New Zealand Kevin Covert said June 1, noting U.S. support for New Zealand’s space industry. New Zealand joined the Artemis Accords May 31.

NASA missions often draw support from partner nations. The Perseverance rover is searching for signs of ancient life on Mars, armed with imaging and sensor equipment from France, Italy, Spain and Norway.

Brazil plans to support development of an international lunar spacecraft and to build a lunar rover entirely with domestic companies and institutions. South Korea, which joined the Artemis Accords May 24, plans to land on the moon by 2030 using its own landing vehicle and domestically developed rocket, news reports say.

New Zealand is one of seven nations that contributed to the principles of the agreement, specifically supporting efforts to ensure space minerals are used sustainably.

“These simple, universal principles will enable the next generation of international partnerships for the exploration of the Moon and beyond,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said May 31. “The Artemis Accords belong to our partners as much they do to us.”

The United States will highlight the Artemis program and its international partnerships at the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, which begins in October 2021 due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.