Angola, Artemis Accords, and the Outer Space Treaty
On November 30, Angola became the 33rd country and the third African nation to sign the US-led Artemis Accords for cooperative lunar exploration. Nigeria and Rwanda became signees last year in December. Cris van Eijk points out that Angola is the first Accords signatory to have neither signed nor ratified any UN space treaty, including the Outer Space Treaty that the Accords posits to build on. Relatedly, even in the passing of a year since Colombia signed the Accords, the country hasn’t ratified the Outer Space Treaty.
In any case, the onboarding of countries like Angola to the Accords is in line with what Marcia Smith reported last year—that the US has been pushing for a broad, veto-less international participation in the Accords independent of a country’s intentions to collaborate with NASA on Artemis missions.
Relatedly, a nation to look out for with respect to the Accords is South Africa. The country is aiding NASA with a crucial ground station which will provide high bandwidth communications to the agency during Artemis crewed missions. At the same time, South Africa recently formally joined the upcoming China-led long-term scientific base on the Moon’s south pole called the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS). It will be interesting to see if South Africa signs the Accords.
Excerpted from my 156th Moon Monday newsletter. Subscribe if lunar and space exploration interests you: