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Armenia Becomes 43rd Signatory to Artemis Accords

Armenia became the latest country to sign the Artemis Accords, marking its commitment to safe and responsible space exploration.

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Zac Aubert

Zac Aubert

Sat Jun 15 2024Written by Zac Aubert

Armenia became the latest country to sign the Artemis Accords, marking its commitment to safe and responsible space exploration. The signing ceremony took place at NASA Headquarters, where Mkhitar Hayrapetyan, Armenia’s Minister of High-Tech Industry, inked the agreement. The event was attended by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, officials from the U.S. State Department, and Armenia’s ambassador to the United States.

“By signing these accords, Armenia joins a community of nations dedicated to advancing the frontiers of human knowledge and capability in space...Our involvement will not only enhance our technological capabilities, but also inspire a new generation of Armenians to dream big, to innovate, and to explore the world and universe.” - Mkhitar Hayrapetyan, Armenia’s Minister of High-Tech Industry

The Artemis Accords, introduced in 2020, set forth a framework for cooperation in space exploration, based on principles from the Outer Space Treaty and related agreements. These principles include transparency, interoperability, the peaceful use of space resources, and the avoidance of conflicts in space activities.

Armenia's signing is part of a broader trend of increased global interest in the Artemis Accords. To date, 43 nations have signed the Accords, with Armenia being the tenth country to do so this year. Other nations that joined in 2024 include Belgium, Greece, Lithuania, Peru, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Uruguay.

“As the number keeps growing, there’s more and more interest...Countries are looking around and realizing that their neighbors, other international partners, have signed, and I think there’s a growing curiosity.” - Valda Vikmanis-Keller, Director of the Office of Space Affairs at the U.S. State Department

“Today’s signing builds on an important foundation. Armenia long has looked to the heavens and helped humanity understand them...As the 10th nation this year to sign the Artemis Accords, we are proving that exploration unites nations like few other things can.” - NASA Administrator Bill Nelson

The Artemis Accords have garnered more attention and participation compared to the China-led International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) initiative. While the ILRS added Serbia as its 11th member in May, the Accords have attracted a more diverse set of nations. Countries like Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Egypt, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, and Venezuela are part of the ILRS.

To date, no country has simultaneously joined both the Artemis Accords and the ILRS. However, U.S. officials have clarified that there are no restrictions preventing a country from participating in both initiatives. Interestingly, some companies and institutions from nations signed onto the Artemis Accords are involved in the ILRS. These include Swiss company nanoSPACE AG and the UAE’s University of Sharjah.

Armenia’s decision to join the Artemis Accords underscores its dedication to international collaboration and technological advancement in space exploration