Rwanda and Nigeria became the latest nations to sign the document that outlines best practices for safe and sustainable space exploration based on the Outer Space Treaty and other agreements.
During the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced that two African countries, Rwanda and Nigeria, became the first from the continent to join the Artemis Accords as the United States works to bring more emerging space nations into the agreement.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson was joined by Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Monica Medina, U.S. National Space Council Executive Secretary Chirag Parikh, as well as representatives from Nigeria and Rwanda as those nations signed the Artemis Accords.
With the addition of these two signatories, 23 nations have affirmed their commitment to transparent, safe, and sustainable space exploration. Through the accords, the signatories are guided by a set of principles that promote the beneficial use of space for all of humanity.
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. 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.”
The accords were signed on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by Isa Ali Ibrahim, minister of Communications and Digital Economy.
On behalf of the Republic of Rwanda, Francis Ngabo, chief executive officer of the Rwanda Space Agency, signed the accords.
The summit, hosted by President Joe Biden and led by the US Department of State, brought together leaders from across the African continent to Washington. The Artemis Accords were signed at the start of the US-Africa Space Forum – an element of the broader summit.
NASA and the State Department announced the establishment of the Artemis Accords in 2020. The Artemis Accords are a set of principles to guide the next phase in space exploration, reinforcing and providing for important operational implementation of key obligations in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. The Accords also reinforce the commitment by 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.
More countries are anticipated to sign the Artemis Accords in the months and years ahead, as the United States continues to work with international partners for a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space. Working with both new and existing partners will add new energy and capabilities to help ensure the entire world can benefit from our journey of exploration and discovery.