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Nigeria, Rwanda Becomes First, Second African Countries to Sign NASA Artemis Accord

Nigeria, Rwanda Becomes First, Second African Countries to Sign NASA Artemis Accord

Nigeria and Rwanda have signed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, Artemis Accord, thereby becoming the first and second African countries to do so.

The signing took place on the 13th of December 2022 during the US-Africa Space Forum on the side-line of the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington DC, United States.

Artemis Accords were established by NASA in 2020, as a set of principles to guide the next phase of space exploration, reinforcing and providing for important operational implementation of key obligations in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. The Accords also serve to reinforce the commitment of the United States and signatory nations to the Registration Convention, the Rescue and Return Agreement, as well as guidelines and best practices NASA and its partners have supported, including the public release of scientific data.

The Artemis Accords represent a bold, multilateral vision for the future of space exploration.

The event’s vision is to leverage outer space to meet shared goals for the US-Africa relationship here on Earth, featuring broader panel discussions on the use of space to support sustainable development goals, capacity building and the role of the private sector in supporting US-Africa partnership.

The Artemis Accord was signed by Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami who represented Nigeria and Rwanda represented by the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Space Agency, Col Francis Ngabo.

According to official channels, “through Artemis, NASA aims to land the first woman and first person of colour on the Moon, heralding a new era for space exploration and utilization. While NASA is leading the Artemis missions, international partnerships will play a key role in achieving a sustainable and robust presence on the Moon while preparing to conduct a historic human mission to Mars. With numerous countries and private sector players conducting missions and operations in cislunar space, it’s critical to establish a common set of principles to govern the civil exploration and use of outer space. The Artemis Accords will describe a shared vision for principles, grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, to create a safe and transparent environment that facilitates exploration, science, and commercial activities for all humanity to enjoy”.

The official Artemis Accord website shows 21 countries have signed the accord, making Nigeria and Rwanda the 22nd and 23rd.

Launched by the State Department and NASA together with eight nations in 2020, the Artemis Accords advance bilateral and multilateral space cooperation between signatories, expanding our knowledge of the universe and benefiting the whole world.

Signatories commit to principles to guide their civil space activities, including the public release of scientific data, responsible debris mitigation, registration of space objects, and the establishment and implementation of interoperability standards.

According to Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator, “the Artemis Accord is all about what we should do peacefully in space, signalling the intention to help each other out, standardization of instruments so we can come to each other aids when there is a problem”.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said “I’m thrilled Nigeria and Rwanda are committing to the safe, sustainable use of outer space. In an era where more nations than ever have space programs, today’s signings highlight a growing commitment to ensure space exploration is conducted responsibly.”

He also stated that “as the first African nations to sign the Artemis Accords, Nigeria and Rwanda exemplify the global reach of the accords and are demonstrating their leadership in space exploration.”

Participants in the Forum, which was part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, discussed how to further shared goals through the peaceful exploration and use of outer space.

The Accords now boast of 23 signatories, spanning every corner of the globe and representing a diverse set of space interests and capabilities.

Through signing the Artemis Accords, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States have demonstrated their commitment to the peaceful, responsible, and sustainable use of outer space and are leading the global conversation on the future of space exploration.

About Bukola Olanrewaju

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