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The Artemis Accords

The Artemis Accords are a set of principles and guidelines for international cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space, developed by the United States in 2020. The Accords are based on the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and other existing international space law, and are intended to provide a framework for countries to cooperate on activities such as lunar exploration, resource extraction, and scientific research. The Accords also seek to promote safety, transparency, and sustainability in space activities.


The Signatories to these Accords;  

RECOGNIZING their mutual interest in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful  purposes, and

UNDERSCORING the continuing importance of existing bilateral space  cooperation agreements; 

NOTING the benefit for all humankind to be gained from cooperating in the peaceful use of  outer space; 

USHERING in a new era of exploration, more than 50 years after the historic Apollo 11 Moon  landing and more than 20 years after the establishment of a continuous human presence aboard  the International Space Station; 

SHARING a common spirit and the ambition that the next steps of humanity’s journey in space inspire current and future generations to explore the Moon, Mars, and beyond;  

BUILDING upon the legacy of the Apollo program, which benefited all of humankind, the  Artemis program will land the first woman and next man on the surface of the Moon and  establish, together with international and commercial partners, the sustainable human exploration  of the solar system; 

CONSIDERING the necessity of greater coordination and cooperation between and among  established and emerging actors in space; 

RECOGNIZING the global benefits of space exploration and commerce; ACKNOWLEDGING a collective interest in preserving outer space heritage;  

AFFIRMING the importance of compliance with the Treaty on Principles Governing the  Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other  Celestial Bodies, opened for signature on January 27, 1967 (“Outer Space Treaty”) as well as  the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects  Launched into Outer Space, opened for signature on April 22, 1968 (“Rescue and Return  Agreement”), the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, opened for signature on March 29, 1972 (“Liability Convention”), and the Convention on  Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space, opened for signature on January 14, 1975 (“Registration Convention”); as well as the benefits of coordination via multilateral forums, such  as the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (“COPUOS”), to further  efforts toward a global consensus on critical issues regarding space exploration and use; and 

DESIRING to implement the provisions of the Outer Space Treaty and other relevant  international instruments and thereby establish a political understanding regarding mutually  beneficial practices for the future exploration and use of outer space, with a focus on activities  conducted in support of the Artemis Program; 

COMMIT to the following principles:


The purpose of these Accords is to establish a common vision via a practical set of principles,  guidelines, and best practices to enhance the governance of the civil exploration and use of outer  space with the intention of advancing the Artemis Program. Adherence to a practical set of  principles, guidelines, and best practices in carrying out activities in outer space is intended to  increase the safety of operations, reduce uncertainty, and promote the sustainable and beneficial  use of space for all humankind. The Accords represent a political commitment to the principles  described herein, many of which provide for operational implementation of important obligations  contained in the Outer Space Treaty and other instruments. 

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 intend to implement the principles set out in these  Accords through their own activities by taking, as appropriate, measures such as mission  planning and contractual mechanisms with entities acting on their behalf. 


1. Cooperative activities regarding the exploration and use of outer space may be implemented  through appropriate instruments, such as Memoranda of Understanding, Implementing  Arrangements under existing Government-to-Government Agreements, Agency-to-Agency  arrangements, or other instruments. These instruments should reference these Accords and  include appropriate provisions for implementing the principles contained in these Accords. 

(a) In the instruments described in this Section, the Signatories or their subordinate  agencies should describe the nature, scope, and objectives of the civil cooperative  activity; 

(b) The Signatories’ bilateral instruments referred to above are expected to contain other  provisions necessary to conduct such cooperation, including those related to liability,  intellectual property, and the transfer of goods and technical data; 

(c) All cooperative activities should be carried out in accordance with the legal  obligations applicable to each Signatory; and 

(d) Each Signatory commits to taking appropriate steps to ensure that entities acting on  its behalf comply with the principles of these Accords.


The Signatories affirm that cooperative activities under these Accords should be exclusively for  peaceful purposes and in accordance with relevant international law. 


The Signatories are committed to transparency in the broad dissemination of information  regarding their national space policies and space exploration plans in accordance with their  national rules and regulations. 

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 use  reasonable efforts to utilize current interoperability standards for space-based infrastructure, to  establish such standards when current standards do not exist or are inadequate, and to follow  such standards. 


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. 


For cooperative activities under these Accords, the Signatories commit to determine which of  them should register any relevant space object in accordance with the Registration Convention.  For activities involving a non-Party to the Registration Convention, the Signatories intend to  cooperate to consult with that non-Party to determine the appropriate means of registration. 


1. 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. 

2. 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. 

3. The commitment to openly share scientific data is not intended to apply to private sector  operations unless such operations are being conducted on behalf of a Signatory to the  Accords. 


1. 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. 

2. The Signatories intend to use their experience under the Accords to contribute to multilateral  efforts to further develop international practices and rules applicable to preserving outer  space heritage. 


1. The Signatories note that the utilization of space resources can benefit humankind by  providing critical support for safe and sustainable operations.  

2. The Signatories emphasize that the extraction and utilization of space resources, including  any recovery from the surface or subsurface of the Moon, Mars, comets, or asteroids, should be executed in a manner that complies with the Outer Space Treaty and in support of safe and  sustainable space activities. The Signatories affirm that the extraction of space resources  does not inherently constitute national appropriation under Article II of the Outer Space  Treaty, and that contracts and other legal instruments relating to space resources should be consistent with that Treaty. 

3. 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. 

4. The Signatories intend to use their experience under the Accords to contribute to multilateral  efforts to further develop international practices and rules applicable to the extraction and  utilization of space resources, including through ongoing efforts at the COPUOS. 


1. The Signatories acknowledge and reaffirm their commitment to the Outer Space Treaty,  including those provisions relating to due regard and harmful interference. 

2. The Signatories affirm that the exploration and use of outer space should be conducted with  due consideration to the United Nations Guidelines for the Long-term Sustainability of Outer  Space Activities adopted by the COPUOS in 2019, with appropriate changes to reflect the  nature of operations beyond low-Earth orbit. 

3. Consistent with Article IX of the Outer Space Treaty, a Signatory authorizing an activity under these Accords commits to respect the principle of due regard. A Signatory to these  Accords with reason to believe that it may suffer, or has suffered, harmful interference, may  request consultations with a Signatory or any other Party to the Outer Space Treaty  authorizing the activity.  

4. The Signatories commit to seek to refrain from any intentional actions that may create  harmful interference with each other’s use of outer space in their activities under these  Accords. 

5. 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. 

6. The Signatories intend to use their experience under the Accords to contribute to multilateral  efforts to further develop international practices, criteria, and rules applicable to the  definition and determination of safety zones and harmful interference. 

7. 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 intend to observe the  following principles related to safety zones: 

(a) The size and scope of the safety zone, as well as the notice and coordination, should  reflect the nature of the operations being conducted and the environment that such  operations are conducted in; 

(b) The size and scope of the safety zone should be determined in a reasonable manner 

leveraging commonly accepted scientific and engineering principles;  

(c) The nature and existence of safety zones is expected to change over time reflecting the  status of the relevant operation. If the nature of an operation changes, the operating  Signatory should alter the size and scope of the corresponding safety zone as appropriate. Safety zones will ultimately be temporary, ending when the relevant operation ceases;  and 

(d) The Signatories should promptly notify each other as well as the Secretary-General of the  United Nations of the establishment, alteration, or end of any safety zone, consistent with  Article XI of the Outer Space Treaty. 

8. The Signatory maintaining a safety zone commits, upon request, to provide any Signatory with the basis for the area in accordance with the national rules and regulations applicable to  each Signatory. 

9. The Signatory establishing, maintaining, or ending a safety zone should do so in a manner  that protects public and private personnel, equipment, and operations from harmful  interference. The Signatories should, as appropriate, make relevant information regarding  such safety zones, including the extent and general nature of operations taking place within  them, available to the public as soon as practicable and feasible, while taking into account  appropriate protections for proprietary and export-controlled information. 

10. The Signatories commit to respect reasonable safety zones to avoid harmful interference with operations under these Accords, including by providing prior notification to and coordinating  with each other before conducting operations in a safety zone established pursuant to these  Accords. 

11. The Signatories commit to use safety zones, which will be expected to change, evolve, or end  based on the status of the specific activity, in a manner that encourages scientific discovery and technology demonstration, as well as the safe and efficient extraction and utilization of  

space resources in support of sustainable space exploration and other operations. The  Signatories commit to respect the principle of free access to all areas of celestial bodies and  all other provisions of the Outer Space Treaty in their use of safety zones. The Signatories  further commit to adjust their usage of safety zones over time based on mutual experiences  and consultations with each other and the international community. 


1. The Signatories commit to plan for the mitigation of orbital debris, including the safe, timely, and efficient passivation and disposal of spacecraft at the end of their missions, when  appropriate, as part of their mission planning process. In the case of cooperative missions,  such plans should explicitly include which Signatory has the primary responsibility for the  end-of-mission planning and implementation. 

2. 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 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. 


1. Building on any consultative mechanisms in preexisting arrangements as appropriate, the  Signatories commit to periodically consult to review the implementation of the principles  in these Accords, and to exchange views on potential areas of future cooperation. 

2. The Government of the United States of America will maintain the original text of these  Accords and transmit to the Secretary-General of the United Nations a copy of these  Accords, which is not eligible for registration under Article 102 of the Charter of the  

United Nations, with a view to its circulation to all the members of the Organization as an  official document of the United Nations. 

3. After October 13, 2020, any State seeking to become a Signatory to these Accords may  submit its signature to the Government of the United States for addition to this text. 

Adopted on October 13, 2020, in the English language.