France signs Artemis Accords on future lunar exploration

·1-min read

France’s space agency, the CNES, has signed a US-led multilateral agreement for future exploration of the Moon.

CEO Philippe Baptiste inked the so-called Artemis Accords in Washington DC on Tuesday, the 60th anniversary of the CNES.

France is the 20th country to join the initiative, which hopes to send astronauts back to the Moon around 2025 – more than 50 years after Apollo 11's historic moon landing.

"For both our scientific community and our industry, this new framework will allow us to face new challenges and to continue to count among the great space powers," Baptiste said in a press release.

The Artemis Accords were conceived in 2020 by the Trump Administration as a diplomatic prong of NASA's flagship space exploration program, also called Artemis.

Built on broader principles in the landmark 1967 Outer Space Treaty, the accords include an array of principles designed to promote peaceful uses of space, from establishing "safety zones" around future moon bases to sharing scientific data with other countries.

Britain, Japan, Canada, Ukraine, Israel and the United Arab Emirates are already among the signatories.

China, which has not joined the pact, is planning its own rival Moon exploration program with the help of Russia.

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