France has officially signed the NASA Artemis Accords

These agreements formalize and strengthen long-standing cooperation between the French aerospace industry and its American counterpart.

This Tuesday, France officially became the latest nation to join the Artemis Accords. It thus engages in a great common scientific adventure; With its new partners, the country is formalizing its commitment to sustainable exploration that benefits all of humanity. France thus becomes the 20th country to join this coalition, and the fifth in Europe.

This is a series of international agreements that brings together all the governments participating in the Artemis program, this ambitious series of missions which aims to bring Man back to the Moon within a few years (see our article).

The text is directly based on the Outer Space Treaty, a text edited by the United Nations in 1967 to lay the foundations for space legislation The Artemis Agreements complete the gray areas of this fairly old text of notions and concepts more modern; the objective is to pose a “framework for cooperation in civil exploration and peaceful use of the Moon, Mars and other astronomical objects”.

It was Philippe Baptiste, the president of our national space agency (the Center National d’Etudes Spatiales, or CNES), who affixed his signature to the bottom of the document along with the French ambassador to the United States, Philippe Étienne .

The formalization of a long-standing collaboration

The fact that France joins the Artemis Accords marks a new step forward in our space partnership with the United States. It is already of critical importance to both nations, especially with regard to Mars exploration and Earth observation programs.”, explains the leader of the French aerospace industry.

And he is already delighted with the scientific, economic and strategic benefits of this signature. “For our scientific community and our industry, this new platform will allow us to challenge ourselves and continue to be among the leaders in aerospace in the world.“, he says.

France will probably not be the last nation to join this group. In particular, we can expect other countries in the European Union to follow suit. But not all signatories will be directly involved in the Artemis missions themselves; they undertake above all to respect a code of conduct and cooperation that you can find in full ici.

France, on the other hand, should not only make up the numbers. Bill Nelson, NASA administrator, welcomed the French contingent with open arms. “We are delighted to welcome France as a new member of the Artemis Accords family of signatories.“, he explains before recalling the old link that exists between the aerospace industry of the two countries.

France is one of the oldest allies of the United States, and our partnership in space exploration dates back more than half a century.”says Nelson. “This partnership is further strengthened by France’s commitment to ensuring a peaceful and responsible exploration of space for generations to come.

A coalition frowned upon by some major powers

The list of signatories therefore continues to swell, despite criticism from some members of the international community. Some governments, starting with Russia, have accused the United States of wanting to involve the whole planet in a tailor-made program to serve its own strategic and economic interests. Some media affiliated with the Chinese government have also been very critical; they denounced what they consider to be a form of hidden colonization.

A position that is anything but surprising, knowing the tense relations between Washington and the other camp represented by Beijing and Moscow; each pole systematically criticizes the third parties as soon as they address the slightest gesture of conciliation to the other camp.

These last two have also started to build a block on their side; they have started setting up their own space cooperation programme. It includes in particular the construction of a common lunar base. It therefore only remains to hope that the Artemis Accords will not turn into a new major sticking point, at a time when space is beginning to weigh more and more heavily in international relations.

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