Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Singapore signs US-led agreement governing space exploration

WASHINGTON, DC — Singapore became the 18th country to join the Artemis Accords on Monday (March 28), an international agreement that aims to promote the peaceful, sustainable and beneficial use of space for all of humankind.

Singapore signs US-led agreement governing space exploration
  • The Artemis Accords lay out a common set of principles to govern civil space exploration and the use of the moon, Mars, comets and asteroids for peaceful purposes
  • Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong signed the Accords while accompanying Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on a working visit to the US
  • The Accords set out a vision for signatories to share scientific data openly, among others
  • Singapore joins 17 other countries that have already joined the agreement

WASHINGTON, DC — Singapore became the 18th country to join the Artemis Accords on Monday (March 28), an international agreement that aims to promote the peaceful, sustainable and beneficial use of space for all of humankind.

The Accords, which was inked on behalf of Singapore by Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, lays out a common set of principles to govern civil space exploration and the use of the moon, Mars, comets and asteroids for peaceful purposes.

Singapore is the first Southeast Asian country to sign the agreement.

Mr Gan spoke about the agreement in a speech to representatives of the United States State Department and Nasa at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, on the sidelines of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s working visit to the US.

"I hope that by joining the Artemis Accords, Singapore will be able to cooperate more closely with like-minded partners like the US (to) progress the international conversation on the space norms and spur the development of the global space sector," he said.

"I look forward to seeing more exchanges and collaborations among companies, officials and researchers between Singapore and the US as well as other Artemis Accords signatories, leading to a robust space sector in Singapore."

I hope that by joining the Artemis Accords, Singapore will be able to cooperate more closely with like-minded partners like the US (to) progress the international conversation on the space norms and spur the development of the global space sector.
Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong

Drafted in 2020 by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) and the State Department, the Artemis Accords is a non-binding agreement that is intended to advance Nasa’s Artemis mission to land the first woman and first person of colour on the moon in 2025.

Nasa deputy administrator Pam Melroy, a former astronaut who was one of only two women to command a space shuttle, said in a speech following Mr Gan's remarks: "What we do from a technological perspective is not the only important aspect.

"How we do this is very important. Responsible behaviour, partnerships, transparency, sharing of science information, those are all at the heart of the Artemis Accords, to say not just what we are doing, but how we intend to work together in the future." 

According to a copy of the agreement on Nasa's website, the Accords represent a “political commitment to the principles”, many of which are grounded in the United Nations’ (UN) Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which Singapore is also a signatory of.

Among other things, the governments and space agencies of the signatories agree to ensure that extraction and utilisation of space resources are conducted in accordance with the UN treaty.

For instance, this means that when countries or companies mine resources from the moon or from asteroids, they may not assert property or sovereignty rights over the moon or the asteroid itself, something which scientists have warned could be a source of conflict between nations.

The agreement also states that all space activities under the Accords should be exclusively for peaceful purposes, and that signatories are to be transparent in disseminating information regarding space-related policies, as well as the open sharing of scientific data.

Singapore is a relatively new space player, with more than 50 companies and over 1,000 professionals in the Republic engaged in space-related activities, such as the designing and manufacturing of space components, as well as the provision of satellite-based services, according to the country’s national statement to a UN committee in 2021.

Last month, Mr Gan announced that Singapore would be investing S$150 million into the Space Technology Development Programme to develop Singapore’s space capabilities

Other signatories of the Artemis Accords include Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. 

Some countries with large-scale space programmes, such as France and Germany — key countries involved in the European Space Agency — as well as Russia, China and India have not joined the Accords.

Mr Gan, Communications and Information Minister Josephine Teo and Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan are accompanying PM Lee on the bilateral visit to the US.

Mr Lee will be meeting with US President Joe Biden on March 29, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris and other senior US officials in the US capital.

Related topics

Gan Kim Yong Artemis Accords Space

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa