UAE Space Agency Signs Artemis Accords to Advance International Space Cooperation
The UAE Space Agency (UAESA) today was amongst the first signatories of NASA’s Artemis Accords at the 71st International Astronautical Congress (IAC), running between October 12 and 14, 2020.
In May 2020, NASA, the American Space Agency, formally announced the Artemis Accords, based on a shared vision for principles, grounded in the United Nations’ Outer Space Treaty of 1967, to create a safe and transparent environment that facilitates exploration, science and commercial activities for the benefit of all humanity.
In a virtual event hosted by NASA, Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chair of the UAE Space Agency and Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator along with the heads of the Space Agencies of Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.
The UAE is committed to the advancement of space exploration while ensuring the sustainability of space. The Accords aligns with the UAE’s long-term programs to explore outer space and collaborate internationally on better understanding our solar system.
Though a young nation with a relatively young space program, the UAE has made significant strides in space science and exploration having launched several satellites, as well as the UAE Astronaut Programme, which made history last year with the first Emirati astronaut visiting the International Space Station (ISS). But the nation’s most notable of achievements thus far is the successful launch of the Hope Probe Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), that will provide us with a comprehensive understanding of the weather system of Mars along with better understanding of underlying factors that could cause climate change. With this mission the UAE will release the data to the global science community without an embargo period. This aligns with the accords that emphasizes the importance of data sharing across missions along with the interoperability of systems to drive space exploration.
Speaking on this partnership, Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri said: “We welcome this initiative NASA has taken to strengthen the broad principles of peaceful human exploration and co-existence in space. As a peaceful space fairing nation, the UAE is pleased to become a signatory of the Artemis Accords, and our endorsement of this agreement is in keeping with our principle of the peaceful use and exploration of outer space to enhance development and sustainability goals here on Earth. It highlights the UAEs efforts to collaborate with the global community to establish new and improved principles and frameworks that strengthen international laws for space exploration, as we firmly believe that the advancement and diversification of the space sector requires the concerted efforts of all global players.”
Her Excellency added: “The UAE has always been a proponent of international collaboration, and we have benefited from many partnerships as we have evolved our own space program. We also make effective contributions to international efforts, to push the boundaries in our shared human knowledge and understanding of our universe. We are one human race and we are in this together.”
In line with the principles outlined in the Artemis Accords, signatories agree to conduct all activities for peaceful purposes, and to publicly and transparently describe their policies and plans. In complying with open standard requirement, signatory nations strive for interoperability, ensure the provision of emergency assistance, register space objects to help avoid harmful interference, release scientific data publicly, and endeavor to protect sites and artifacts of historic value.
Furthermore, signatories to the Accords agree to extract and use space resources in accordance with the Outer Space Treaty and provide public information about the location and nature of operations, while also working to deconflict where necessary and mitigate orbital debris.
Since its inception in 2014, UAESA has built successful relationships with more than 20 space agencies and established long-standing partnerships with the United Nations and international entities focused on space exploration. The Agency continues to increase the UAE’s global representation through participation in international space organizations, including but not limited to the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), the International Space Exploration Coordination Ground, the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG), the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPOUS).