NASA has laid down a set of rules for its commercial spaceflight partners and other agencies looking to operate in space. The agreement, known as the Artemis Accords, aims to regulate the behavior and activities related to space exploration.

The new agreement released by NASA was named after its new spaceflight program known as Artemis. Through new sets of missions under the Artemis program, NASA aims to explore space with its partner agencies and private companies.

xEMU Suit
NASA's new Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuit NASA

Implementing Rules In Space

Aside from agencies, NASA noted that the number of space launches by private firms is expected to increase. SpaceX, for instance, is looking to launch its first crewed flight into space later this month. Due to the heightened human activity in space, NASA released the Artemis Accords, which will dictate how the agency's partners will behave in space. According to NASA, the purpose of the Artemis Accords is to ensure that everyone who will venture out into space will be able to do so peacefully.

"International space agencies that join NASA in the Artemis program will do so by executing bilateral Artemis Accords agreements, which will describe a shared vision for principles, grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, to create a safe and transparent environment which facilitates exploration, science, and commercial activities for all of humanity to enjoy," the agency stated in the agreement.

Mars Helicopter
NASA’s Mars Helicopter and its cruise stage undergo functional testing in the airlock inside Kennedy Space Center’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility on March 10, 2020. NASA/Cory Huston

Key Points Of The Artemis Accords

One of the key aspects of the Artemis Accords is establishing transparency, which means all of NASA's partners will be required to register their space objects such as satellites, probes and landers. As noted by the agency, having a registry for all space objects will make it easier to monitor them. Another key point of the agreement covers the protection of heritage sites and artifacts in space. This includes removing or at least minimizing the amount of debris left at landing sites.

"Protecting historic sites and artifacts will be just as important in space as it is here on Earth," NASA explained. "Therefore, under Artemis Accords agreements, NASA and partner nations will commit to the protection of sites and artifacts with historic value.