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India joins Artemis Accord

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June 27, 2023

Why in news?

India became the 27th signatory to the American-led Artemis Accords.

What are Artemis Accords?

  • The US established the Artemis Accords together with 7 other founding member nations in 2020.
  • The Artemis Accords reinforce and implement key obligations in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
  • These Accords are a non-binding set of principles designed to guide civil space exploration cooperation among nations participating in the agency’s 21st century lunar exploration plans.
  • It currently has 27 signatories including India.

Artemis mirrors a Chinese-Russian plan for an ‘International Lunar Research Station’ (ILRS).

What is done under Artemis Accords?

The Artemis programme this time plans for permanent settlements on the Moon.

  • The project plan includes
    • a base on the lunar surface
    • multiple spacecraft to ferry humans and cargo
    • a small orbiting space station called the ‘Lunar Gateway’
    • a constellation of satellites to help with navigation and communication
  • The Artemis Accords was created by the U.S to act as a soft-law alternative to the Moon Agreement, which limits resource extraction in celestial bodies.
  • If Artemis Programme succeed in permanent settlement in lunar surface, resource extraction will be limited to lunar surface.
  • A key provision in the Artemis Accords allows for actors to extract and utilise space resources.

Artemis programme - An American-led effort to return humans to the moon by 2025, with the ultimate goal of expanding space exploration to Mars and beyond.

What is the Moon Agreement of 1979?

  • The Moon Agreement of 1979 is directed towards the use of the Moon and other celestial bodies.
  • It limits the scope of exploitation of resources from these celestial bodies.
  • It establishes that the moon and other celestial bodies are ‘the province of all mankind’.
  • It declares that these regions of space must only be for peaceful purposes, with no state allowed to establish military bases or place weapons on celestial bodies.
  • Signatory - Despite being instrumental in the drafting of the Moon Agreement, the United States did not ratify it.
  • India is a signatory to the Moon Agreement, but is yet to ratify it.

What is it that India seeks to gain out of Artemis?

  • Gaganyaan - Parties to the Accords gain greatly from the exchange of information and gain access to NASA’s Artemis programme.
  • This shared information would greatly help India’s own Gaganyaan mission.
  • Benefits ISRO - NASA and ISRO have agreed to a joint mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024.
  • This opens avenues for knowledge sharing, joint research, and technological exchange between the two space agencies.
  • Earlier, ISRO and NASA collaborated in the development of NISAR Mission.
  • Bilateral ties - The ties between India and the U.S. have been on an upswing and this accord improves bilateral space cooperation between them.
  • India in its new space policy allows private players to mine any ‘space resource,’ which presumably includes the Moon.
  • Economic potential - It allows Indian companies and industries to participate in the global space economy and access new markets.
  • Space industry - Increased investment in the space sector drives job creation, research and development and the growth of India’s space industry.
  • Collaboration - India can collaborate and gain knowledge from other Artemis signatories.

What is the way forward?

  • India has much work to do to make the most of the Artemis programme.
  • India will have to increase its budget for space.
  • It has to overcome domestic resistance to collaboration with other space agencies.
  • India has to enable its private sector to work with other Artemis members, and develop legislation that encourages space activities.


  1. NASA - NASA Welcomes India as 27th Artemis Accords Signatory
  2. The Hindu - India and the Artemis Accords
  3. The Hindu - India has signed the Artemis Accords
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