Space Diplomacy: Saudi Arabia Signed the Artemis Accords

OrganizationsOther ♦ Published: July 19, 2022; 22:38 ♦ (Vindobona)

In joining the Artemis Accords, Saudi Arabia shows its commitment to sustainable space exploration guided by a common set of principles. In signing the agreement, Saudi Arabia becomes the 21st Artemis Accords country.

By signing the Artemis Accords the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia acknowledges the importance of exploration and use of space in a responsible, peaceful, and sustainable manner. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Rrinsindika, CC BY-SA 3.0

As part of the United States' "expanding space cooperation," Saudi Arabia has signed the Artemis Accords. Mohammed bin Saud Al-Tamimi, CEO of the Saudi Space Commission, signed the Accords on behalf of the Kingdom. By joining the Artemis Accords, Saudi Arabia demonstrates its commitment to sustainable space exploration.

During his visit to the middle east, U.S. President Joe Biden welcomed the signing of the Artemis Accords by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and emphasized the importance of exploration and use of space in a responsible, peaceful, and sustainable manner.

The Saudi Arabian space program is modest, with only a few smallsats built domestically. In 1985, Sultan bin Salman Al Saud became the first person from the country to go into space when he was a payload specialist on STS-51-G. The Saudi Space Commission later appointed him as its chairman. The country is also home to the headquarters of Arabsat, a regional operator of geostationary communications satellites.

Joining the Artemis Accords and strengthening international cooperation will ensure a growing Saudi Arabian space program. With the Accords, the country's space industry and research sector will have new opportunities and will be able to actively participate in Artemis activities.

Human spaceflight, earth observation, commercial and regulatory development, and responsible behavior in outer space are just some of the areas in which the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are enhancing their cooperation.

What are the Artemis Accords?

There are international agreements called the Artemis Accords between governments taking part in the Artemis Program, an American-led mission aiming to return humans to the moon by 2025 to extend space exploration.

The Accords establish a framework for cooperation in civil exploration and peaceful use of the Moon, Mars, and other astronomical objects. The conventions are explicitly grounded in the United Nations Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which the signatories are bound to uphold, and cite most of the major U.N.-brokered space agreements.

The Artemis Accords were established in 2020 by NASA and the U.S. Department of State. In addition to reinforcing the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, the set of principles guides the next phase of space exploration. Signing the Accords means also committing to the Registration Convention and the Rescue and Return Agreement. As a starting point for future work on space resources, the Artemis Accords underscore these key principles.

The Accords were originally signed on 13 October 2020 by representatives of the Government agencies responsible for space exploration in eight countries: Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States. Since then eleven more countries joined the list of signing parties.

Saudi Space Commission

NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration

White House