The Artemis Programme, an ambitious U.S. initiative to send people back to the Moon permanently, is supported by a set of non-binding principles known as the Artemis Accords. A base on the surface of the moon, several spacecraft for carrying people and goods, the “Lunar Gateway,” a tiny space station in orbit, and a constellation of satellites for communication and navigation are all part of the project concept.
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Key Notes from the Accords
- The principles set out in these Accords are intended to apply to civil space activities conducted by the civil space agencies of each Signatory. These activities may take place on the Moon, Mars, comets, and asteroids, including their surfaces and subsurfaces, as well as in orbit of the Moon or Mars, in the Lagrangian points for the Earth-Moon system, and in transit between these celestial bodies and locations.
- The Signatories affirm that cooperative activities under these Accords should be exclusively for peaceful purposes and in accordance with relevant international law.
- The Signatories plan to share scientific information resulting from their activities pursuant to these Accords with the public and the international scientific community on a good-faith basis, and consistent with Article XI of the Outer Space Treaty.
- The Signatories recognize that the development of interoperable and common exploration infrastructure and standards, including but not limited to fuel storage and delivery systems, landing structures, communications systems, and power systems, will enhance space-based exploration, scientific discovery, and commercial utilization
- The Signatories 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 own activities. The Signatories intend to coordinate with each other in advance regarding the public release of information that relates to the other Signatories’ activities under these Accords in order to provide appropriate protection for any proprietary and/or export-controlled information.
- The Signatories are committed to the open sharing of scientific data. The Signatories plan to make the scientific results obtained from cooperative activities under these Accords available to the public and the international scientific community, as appropriate, in a timely manner
- The Signatories 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 in accordance with 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.
- The Signatories commit to informing the Secretary-General of the United Nations as well as the public and the international scientific community of their space resource extraction activities in accordance with the Outer Space Treaty.
- The Signatories commit to provide each other with necessary information regarding the location and nature of space-based activities under these Accords if a Signatory has reason to believe that the other Signatories’ activities may result in harmful interference with or pose a safety hazard to its space-based activities.
- In order to implement their obligations under the Outer Space Treaty, the Signatories intend to provide notification of their activities and commit to coordinating with any relevant actor to avoid harmful interference. The area wherein this notification and coordination will be implemented to avoid harmful interference is referred to as a ‘safety zone’. A safety zone should be the area in which nominal operations of a relevant activity or an anomalous event could reasonably cause harmful interference
- The Signatories commit to limit, to the extent practicable, the generation of new, long-lived harmful debris released through normal operations, break-up in operational or post-mission 7 phases, and accidents and conjunctions, by taking appropriate measures such as the selection of safe flight profiles and operational configurations as well as post-mission disposal of space structures.
India will need to boost its space budget, get beyond domestic opposition to working with foreign space agencies, make it possible for its private sector to collaborate with other Artemis members, and create law that supports space activities. Despite the fact that these activities are difficult, they are not impossible.
India was probably also worried that the Artemis Accords were not a legally binding document but rather an informal set of standards or recommendations. Since formal laws are believed to inspire higher compliance among followers regardless of their relative influence in the international system, India has always favoured them to informal rules.
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