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Lithuania Joins Artemis Accords for Safe and Sustainable Space Exploration

Lithuania Joins Artemis Accords for Safe and Sustainable Space Exploration

Economy and Innovation Minister Aušrinė Armonaitė has officially signed the Artemis Accords, an initiative by the US State Department and NASA, which set out practical principles for the safe and sustainable exploration of space. Lithuania is now the 40th country to join this important agreement.

A New Era for Lithuania’s Space Sector

Minister Armonaitė highlighted the significance of this milestone:

“Our country’s space sector is growing, with innovative companies developing globally competitive solutions. By signing the Artemis Accords, we are committing to principles of responsibility, safety, and sustainability in space activities. This agreement also opens up new opportunities for innovation and international collaboration in the space sector.”

Commitments and Principles

Lithuania has pledged to ensure that its space missions, including the extraction and use of resources from the Moon, Mars, comets, or asteroids, will adhere to the Outer Space Treaty. The Artemis Accords emphasize reducing space debris and promoting safe and sustainable practices. Signatory countries will cooperate and consult periodically to review the implementation of these principles and explore potential areas for collaboration.

Signing Ceremony at Vilnius Space Days 2024

The agreement was signed during the “Vilnius Space Days 2024” event, with US Ambassador to Lithuania Kara McDonald in attendance. NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy remarked, “Lithuania has joined an international coalition for responsible and sustainable space exploration. This coalition includes countries dedicated to sharing scientific data, operating safely, and preserving space for future generations. By signing the Artemis Accords, Lithuania becomes a leader in this golden age of space exploration.”

Background and Future Prospects

In 2020, the US State Department and NASA launched the Artemis space programme, aimed at Moon missions and further space exploration. The initial agreements, signed with seven partner countries, laid down principles for the safe, sustainable, and practical use of outer space. Since then, more countries have joined the initiative.

The Artemis Accords are grounded in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and other international agreements, defining civil space activities conducted by the space agencies of the signatory countries.

Lithuania’s Growing Space Sector

Since becoming an associate member of the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2021, Lithuania’s space sector has been on a steady growth path. Lithuanian scientific institutions and space businesses are integrating into international supply chains and participating in global programmes. The country hosts the ESA Business Incubator Centre (ESA BIC Lithuania), which supports promising space start-ups. The Innovation Agency’s SpaceHub LT is also pivotal in developing Lithuania’s space ecosystem, enhancing competitiveness, and implementing space policies.

The Ministry of Economy and Innovation has outlined a vision for Lithuania’s space sector development, aiming to provide competitive space services and create advanced solutions and technologies based on cutting-edge scientific research