Colombia has joined NASA’s rapidly growing Artemis Accords program, becoming the 19th signatory following recent agreements with Bahrain, Singapore and Romania.
While Colombia has yet to reveal its specific contribution to NASA’s Artemis lunar program, Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucia Ramirez said that Colombia is looking forward to developing its space activities quickly.
The pact is “a very important moment in bilateral relations as this year marks the 200th anniversary of U.S.-Colombian diplomatic relations,” Ramirez said in a NASA statement on Tuesday (May 10). (According to the US State Department, the US recognized Colombia on June 19, 1822, three years after the country had effectively achieved independence from Spain.)
Signing a contract with NASA “is an important stepping stone for my country as we continue to develop our knowledge, national capacity and understanding of the importance of space for future generations of Colombians,” Ramirez said.
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The Accords of Artemis outlines the peaceful and responsible exploration of the Moon and beyond. NASA plans to send astronauts back to the moon at the end of the decade as part of the Artemis program.
NASA and the US State Department unveiled the Artemis Accord in 2020, and at that time eight countries had signed it: Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. It has since also been signed by Bahrain, Brazil, Israel, Republic of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Singapore and Ukraine.
“The Artemis Accords set out certain principles that should guide civilian space actors, among which are: peaceful purposes, transparency, interoperability, obligation to provide emergency assistance, registration of space objects, disclosure of scientific data, elimination of conflicts of activities, protection of space heritage and mitigation of consequences. orbital debris, including spacecraft disposal,” the U.S. State Department explained in a recent statement.
NASA confirmed that more countries will join the agreements “in the coming months and years as NASA continues to work with its international partners to create a safe, peaceful and prosperous future in space.”
The agency is working to bring astronauts back to the lunar surface, eventually establishing a permanent human presence there. In addition to landings near the moon’s south pole, where water ice seems to have nestled inside permanently shadowed craters, the agency is building the Gateway lunar station in orbit around the moon.
The first Artemis mission, named Artemis 1, could be launched later this year, pending the elimination of several glitches during a “wet dress rehearsal” of the new Space Launch System megarocket to send the uncrewed Orion space capsule around the moon. NASA rolled the rocket into cover in late April to assess problems at the Kennedy Space Center’s vehicle assembly building, next to the launch pad.
Following Artemis 1, it is planned to launch a manned lunar orbital mission called Artemis 2 no earlier than 2024, and Artemis 3 will make its first crewed landing.
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