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Korea joins US-led Artemis Accords for space exploration

May 27, 2021 - 15:50 By Song Su-hyun

Minister Lim Hye-sook holds up an agreement signed between South Korea and the United States at her office in the administrative capital of Sejong. (Ministry of Science and ICT)

South Korea has become the 10th member of an international program for peaceful exploration of the space led by the United States, the Ministry of Science and ICT said Thursday.

Science and ICT Minister Lim Hye-sook signed the Artemis Accords on behalf of the Korean government as a follow-up measure of the Korea-US presidential summit last week, the ministry said.

The Artemis Accords is an international agreement among governments participating in the Artemis Program, a US-led effort to return humans to the moon by 2024, and to ultimately expand and deepen space exploration.

Eight nations, including the US, Japan, UK and Italy signed the agreement in October 2010, and Ukraine joined later.

The Korean Science Ministry expects the signing of the agreement to increase Korea’s opportunities to enhance cooperation with the US in the space industry by participating in programs led by the US.

Korea, a latecomer to the global space race, has been working together with the US’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter set to blast off in August 2022.

The KPLO is expected to be equipped with NASA’s ShadowCam that will take a video of the permanently shadowed regions of the moon. This would help select a landing spot for the Artemis program.

“For successful space exploration, it is critical to implement space development activities transparently and responsibly by collaborating with the international community,” said Minister Lim. “With the signing of the Artemis Accords, Korea would be able to strengthen cooperation with nations participating in the Accords in exploring the outer space.”

“I am thrilled the Republic of Korea has committed to the Artemis Accords. Their signature demonstrates the strong momentum worldwide in supporting our Moon to Mars exploration approach,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Partnering in deep space will ensure our missions are carried out in accordance with important, universal principles like transparency, safety, and peaceful exploration, which are critical to ensuring a safe, and prosperous future in space for all.”

By Song Su-hyun (