Colombia signs the Artemis Accords

Colombia became the latest country to sign the Artemis Accords for ethical space exploration on May 10, joining a growing list of signatories. The deal was signed May 10 at NASA Headquarters by Marta Luca Ramrez, Colombia’s vice president, and foreign minister. Colombia is the 19th country to sign the Accords, which were first announced in 2020 and are the third in the region of Latin America after both Brazil and Mexico.

In a statement, Ramrez stated of the Artemis Accords, “It is a significant stepping stone for my nation as we continue to build our knowledge, national capacity, and understanding of the value of space for coming generations of Colombians.”

“Our attempts to establish a long-term presence on the Moon and subsequently Mars will necessitate the collaboration and knowledge of a broad and robust cadre of countries that support peaceful space exploration,” Melroy said in a statement. “As the world explores together, we look forward to future cooperation with Colombia.”

The Artemis Accords, which expand on the Outer Space Treaty and associated agreements, lay out principles for ethical international cooperation in space exploration. Its provisions vary from scientific data sharing to the deployment of “safety zones” to de-conflict space activities, as well as assistance for the extraction and usage of space resources.

“As we engage with the global community to protect and build a rules-based global order, the Artemis Accords offer an opportunity for this era to affirmatively define the norms and principles that will regulate our civil study of the moon and forward to Mars,” Valda Vikmanis-Keller, who works as the director of the State Department’s Office of Space Affairs, said during a presentation to the Federal Aviation Administration on May 3.

She went on to say that the US sought to broaden the scope of the Accords’ participants. Colombia joins Bahrain, Israel, Romania, and Singapore as the fifth country to ratify the Accords this year.

Vice President Kamala Harris mentioned France and Mexico as countries interested in adopting the Artemis Accords during a National Space Council meeting in December. The Accords were signed by Mexico later this month, although France has yet to officially join.

India is said to be considering the Artemis Accords. When asked about it during the COMSTAC conference, Vikmanis-Keller stated, “That is an active conversation which we continue to hold with our Indian colleagues,” citing “sensitivities and concerns” about the deal there. “We will continue to bring it up when the chance arises.  I’m not sure if they’ll ratify the Artemis Accords, although the conversation is still ongoing.”

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