NASA recently helped add Germany as the 29th signatory nation for the Artemis Accords with a signing ceremony at the German Ambassador’s Residence in Washington D.C. on September 14, 2023, which comes after Argentina recently became the 28th signatory nation in July 2023, and adds to a growing list of nations who will be participating in the peaceful exploration of the Moon as NASA’s Artemis missions are prepared to land the first woman and person of color on the Moon, and the first humans on the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Germany to the Artemis Accords family,” said Administrator Nelson. “Germany has long been one of NASA’s closest and most capable international partners, and their signing today demonstrates their leadership now and into the future – a future defined by limitless possibilities in space and the promise of goodwill here on Earth.”
Signing on behalf of NASA was Administrator Bill Nelson and signing on behalf of Germany was the Director General of the German Space Agency at DLR, Dr. Walther Pelzer. Other relevant individuals in attendance included U.S. Department of State Acting Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Jennifer Littlejohn; Executive Secretary of the U.S. National Space Council, Chirag Parikh; German Ambassador to the United States, Andreas Michaelis; and Federal German Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy, Dr. Anna Christmann.
From left to right, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, National Space Council (NSpC) Executive Secretary Chirag Parikh, Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy Anna Christmann, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Director General of the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Walther Pelzer, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Jennifer R. Littlejohn, German Ambassador to the United States Andreas Michaelis, and ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst. (Credit: NASA/Keegan Barber)
“Germany and the United States have been successful partners in space for a long time,” said Dr. Pelzer. “For example, German companies in the space sector are already central contributing to the Artemis program. The German signing of the Artemis Accords gives a further boost to this joint endeavor to carry out programs for the exploration of space. Thus, the Artemis Accords offer a multitude of new opportunities for industry and scientific research in Germany – and ultimately also across Europe.”
Established in 2020, the Artemis Accords are designed to build upon the longstanding Outer Space Treaty for establishing a set of principles for the peaceful exploration of outer space, including the Moon, Mars, comets, and asteroids. Along with exploring outer space for peaceful purposes, the Artemis Accords also outline transparency, interoperability, emergency assistance, registration of space objects, release of scientific data, protecting heritage, space resources, deconfliction of activities, and orbital debris and spacecraft disposal as other core principles, as well.
How will the Artemis Accords help humanity achieve successful exploration of outer space in the coming years and decades? Only time will tell, and this is why we science!
As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!