London, 15 September 2023.- Germany became the 29th country to sign the Artemis Accords on the 14th of September, reports Reuters. The Artemis Accords are a US-led multilateral agreement to establish norms of behaviour in space and on the lunar surface.
Germany became the latest signatory at the German ambassador’s residence in Washington. The event was attended by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Walther Pelzer, head of the Germany Space Agency.
The accords aim to clarify and modernise principles of the widely ratified 1967 Outer Space Treaty. They urge scientific transparency and establish rules of coordination to avoid harmful interference in space and on the moon.
The Artemis Accords are part of the US Artemis program which was formed in 2019. The goal of the program is to return the first crew of astronauts to the lunar surface since 1972.
This signing is a key addition to a growing number of countries. India, became the fourth nation to achieve a soft landing on the moon, agreed to join the Artemis Accords in June, but China and Russia have not. Russia, an integral partner of NASA on the International Space Station, had considered participation in the Artemis program before agreeing to join China’s moon program.
“It’s vital to demonstrate unity and solidarity, and Germany signing signals unification among the pillar nations of ESA,” said Mike Gold, NASA’s former international affairs chief and a key architect of the accords.
Japan, various European countries and other nations have joined the accords. The ESA, representing 22 member states including Germany, is a core NASA partner on Gateway. Gateway is a planned space station that will orbit the moon as part of the Artemis program.