By John B. Sheldon
The heads of the space agencies from the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, and the European Space Agency (ESA) are scheduled to meet on 9 June 2020 via video conference in order to discuss cooperation on lunar exploration and the International Space Station (ISS).
The meeting has reportedly been called by the administrator of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jim Bridenstine and it is believed that he will seek international contributions to the Artemis lunar programme, to include the Lunar Gateway space station.
Governance and policy issues concerning the International Space Station are also expected to be discussed.
While it is not known if the proposed Artemis Accords are on the official agenda for the discussion, it would be surprising if they are not mentioned.
“On June 9, a video conference will be held with the participation of Head of Roscosmos and heads of space agencies of the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan on cooperation in the study of the Moon,” a Russian source told the TASS news agency.
The Russian source added that the head of the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, will likely raise the prospect of Russian-built modules for Lunar Gateway and the proposed Russian follow-on to the ISS, as well as the next-generation Russian crewed spacecraft called Orel.
The Artemis lunar programme is gathering momentum with the looming deadline of 2024 when a U.S. crew is supposed to be placed on the Moon’s surface.
More recently NASA has proposed a set of principles for the governance of space exploration and space resource exploitation called the Artemis Accords. These accords have yet to be made public but it is understood that NASA are consulting with “like-minded” space agencies in order to garner international support for them.