New Zealand has signed the NASA-led Artemis Accords for Human Exploration of the Moon, urging New Zealand to make sustainable progress in space mining, becoming the 11th country worldwide to sign the agreements.
According to the American “space” website, Peter Crabtree, head of the New Zealand Space Agency, signed the agreement during a ceremony on Monday in Wellington, New Zealand.
“The Artemis agreements enable us to prepare for future economic and trade opportunities as well as meet foreign policy objectives,” New Zealand’s Minister of Economic Development Stuart Nash said in a government statement.
New Zealand is best known in the space community for hosting the initial launch pad of the American company Rocket Lab on the Mahia Peninsula.
The company, which specializes in sending groups of small satellites into space, has launched 20 Electron rockets with great success, although it is recovering from a launch failure in May.
New Zealand has not yet provided any specific guidance on what it will contribute to the Treaty of Artemis, and the country has stated that it has signed the Artemis Conventions to emphasize the need for careful management of space resources on the Moon; NASA plans to extract lunar regolith for water to allow long-term stability of the lunar surface using local resources.
In a statement to the agency about the new site, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said New Zealand was among eight countries that helped formulate the principles adopted in the Artemis agreements.
However, New Zealand did not sign with the initial group of eight countries in 2020, and the reasons for the delay were not disclosed.
New Zealand is now the eleventh participating country, with Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine and the United States joining the agreements.