The UAE Space Agency (UAESA) has signed Nasa's Artemis Accords to promote safe and responsible international space cooperation, thus joining the other seven signatory countries to ink the deal.
The signing ceremony was held at the 71st International Astronautical Congress (IAC), running between October 12 and 14, 2020.
The virtual event hosted by Nasa was attended by 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 programmes to explore outer space and collaborate internationally on better understanding our solar system.
Speaking on this partnership, 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."
She said the Accords highlight the UAE's 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.
"The UAE has always been a proponent of international collaboration, and we have benefited from many partnerships as we have evolved our own space programme. 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."
Nasa Administrator Bridenstine said Artemis will be the "broadest and most diverse international human space exploration programme in history", and the Artemis Accords are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition.
"With today's signing, we are uniting with our partners to explore the Moon and are establishing vital principles that will create a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space for all of humanity to enjoy."
Though a young nation with a relatively young space programme, 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 emphasises the importance of data sharing across missions along with the interoperability of systems to drive space exploration.
What is Artemis Accords?
The American Space Agency Nasa formally announced the Artemis Accords in May 2020, 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 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.
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