The liftoff of Artemis 1 last November launched a new era in space, as the United States prepares to send humans beyond low-Earth orbit and back to the Moon for the first time in half a century. The Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion capsule finally made their debut after $23 billion and eleven years of development.
Back on Earth, another element that will define this new era in human exploration of the cosmos has also begun taking shape. The Artemis Accords are a set of shared, non-binding principles that aim to govern “responsible, peaceful, and sustainable” exploration of space, taking the form of bilateral agreements between the United States and twenty-two signatory countries. This new international space club saw nine nations sign on last year.
As we finally enter the Artemis Era, the Accords must play a more prominent role in U.S. space geopolitics and public diplomacy.