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Romania signs NASA Artemis Accords for the lunar exploration programme

on 02 March 2022

On 1 March 2022, Dr. Phys. Marius-Ioan Piso, President of the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA), signed on behalf of Romania, the Artemis Accords, a set of statements initiated by NASA to establish common principles, guidelines, and best practices applicable to the entire lunar exploration programme.

The signing ceremony took place at Romanian’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was preceded by speeches from Mr. Tudor Prisecaru, Secretary of State, Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitisation, Mr. David Muniz, U.S. Chargé d’affaires to Romania, Mrs. Jenifer R. Littlejohn, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, NASA Administrator, Senator Bill Nelson and Dr. Phys. Marius-Ioan Piso, ROSA President. The speakers were welcomed by Mr. Iulian Fota, Secretary of State, Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The accord was signed by Dr. Piso, on behalf of Romania.

"Now more than ever, it is important that we work together across international boundaries to strengthen partnerships and ensure the use of outer space for peaceful purposes,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Having Romania join the Artemis Accords is an important step toward achieving this goal. The U.S. has enjoyed diplomatic relations with Romania for more than 140 years and NASA welcomes the spirit of exploration that Romania can bring to space as we chart this new course together.”

“This spirit of collaboration was a main impetus for us to join the Artemis Moon exploration endeavour,” declared Dr. Phys. Marius-Ioan Piso, ROSA President. “Among the clear benefits that emerge from the participation in this unique programme, we see Artemis also as an attractor for the younger generation towards science, discovery, innovation – things that robots still cannot do. It is also a good way to move the focus from conflicts between humans to challenges in discovery, exploration, and defense of our planet."

The Artemis Accords contain, reaffirm and develop several principles of space law, in accordance with norms, principles and practices stemming from the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. These include principles such as peaceful exploration, transparency, emergency assistance, release of scientific data and preserving heritage. The principles set out in these Accords are intended to apply to civil space activities conducted by the civil space agencies of each signatory.

With this signature Romania becomes the 16th country to sign the Artemis Accords. Each signatory commits to taking appropriate steps to ensure that entities (also private operators) acting on its behalf comply with the principles of these Accords.

The lunar programme Artemis is implemented by NASA with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA) and aims to bring back humans on the Moon, including, for the first time, a woman. The third Artemis mission will fly astronauts to Earth’s natural satellite in 2025 – the first to land on the Moon since Apollo 17 following a hiatus of more than 50 years. As part of the collaboration, ESA is providing the European Service Module for Orion, which is the powerhouse that fuels and propels the spacecraft.

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Image credit: MFA/ROSA