These agreements formalize and strengthen the long-standing cooperation between the French aviation industry and its American counterpart.
This Tuesday, France officially became the latest nation to join the Artemis Treaty. It thus embarks on 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.
These are a series of international agreements that bring together all the governments participating in the Artemis program, this ambitious series of missions that aim 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 UN in 1967 to lay the foundations for space legislation. The Artemis Agreements complete the gray areas of this rather old text of concepts and concepts more modern; the aim is to constitute a “framework for cooperation on civil exploration and peaceful uses of the Moon, Mars and other astronomical objects”.
It was Philippe Baptiste, the president of our National Space Agency (Center National d’Etudes Spatiales or CNES), who affixed his signature at the bottom of the document together with the French Ambassador to the United States, Philippe Étienne.
The formalization of a long-standing collaboration
“The fact that France joins the Artemis Agreement marks a new step forward in our space partnership with the United States. It is already crucial for both nations, especially in terms of Mars exploration and Earth observation programs.”, Explains the leader of the French aviation 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 world leaders in space.“, he says.
France will probably not be the last nation to join this group. In particular, we can expect other EU countries to follow suit. But not all signatories will be directly involved in the Artemis missions themselves; above all, they are committed to respecting a code of conduct and cooperation that you can find in its entirety here.
France, on the other hand, should not just be the numbers. Bill Nelson, NASA administrator, welcomed the French contingent with open arms. “We are pleased to welcome France as a new member of the Artemis Accords family of signatories.“, he explains, before recalling the old connection that exists between the two countries’ aviation industry.
“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 ensure a peaceful and responsible space exploration for future generations.”
A coalition frowned upon by some great powers
The list of signatories therefore continues to swell despite criticism from some members of the international community. Some governments, beginning with Russia, have accused the United States of wanting to involve the entire planet in one tailor-made program to serve its own strategic and economic interests. Some media affiliated with the Chinese government have also been very critical; they condemned what they consider to be a form of covert colonization.
An attitude that is anything but surprising, familiar to the tense relationship between Washington and the other camp represented by Beijing and Moscow; each pole systematically criticizes the third parties as soon as they direct the slightest gesture of reconciliation to the other camp.
These last two have also begun to build a block on their side; they have begun to create their own space collaboration. This includes in particular the construction of a common lunar base. It is therefore only left to hope that the Artemis agreements do not become a new major turning point, at a time when space is beginning to weigh more and more heavily in international relations.