South Korea on Thursday signed up to a U.S.-led international agreement setting out rules for space exploration that NASA announced on Wednesday.
The U.S. space agency said South Korea was the tenth country to sign the Artemis Accords launched in 2020 and named after NASA’s programme to land astronauts on the moon by 2024.
South Korea’s science ministry also announced the move, and said Seoul had been working with NASA to develop a lunar orbiter set to blast off in August 2022, news agency Yonhap reported.
Seoul joined fellow signatories Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Britain, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, and the U.S..
Through Artemis, NASA aimed to establish sustainable lunar surface exploration with its international partners by 2028, as a stepping stone to the first human mission to Mars.
The principles laid out in the accords ensured a shared understanding of safe operations, use of space resources, minimising orbital debris and sharing scientific data.
“Partnering in deep space will ensure our missions are carried out in accordance with important, universal principles like transparency, safety, and peaceful exploration.
“These are critical to ensuring a safe, and prosperous future in space for all,’’ NASA administrator Bill Nelson said.