AMU Editor's Pick Original Space

Artemis Accords: Israel Soon to Become a New Member

By Ilan Fuchs, Ph.D.
Faculty Member, Legal Studies

On January 16, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced that Israel will join the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Artemis Accords. Lapid noted, “We are moving toward a global and innovative future where countries mobilize resources for science and research and work together to advance space diplomacy. To sign the accords will strengthen cooperation with other signatories in the field of trade and economy.”

Israel is the fifteenth country to join the Artemis Accords. The current members of the Artemis Accords are:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • South Korea
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Israel’s decision is a new phase in the development of the international cooperation created by the Artemis Accords. It is also a sign to China and Russia that the U.S. is continuing to push forward and maintain its technological dominance.

What Are the Artemis Accords?

The Artemis Accords involve a complex agreement that creates a multi-national partnership covering several areas, including space law. Since the international treaties dealing with space law failed to garner support in light of Cold War politics, there is a void to fill regarding the legal use of space.

The Artemis Accords were created to solve several problems. One issue is the question of private actors entering space explorations.

With the existing treaties, negating private property rights in celestial bodies and accords came with an alternative. That alternative gives incentives to private-sector companies to invest in space exploration but not take permanent ownership of celestial bodies such as asteroids.

Upcoming Space Missions

There are several planned space missions in the near future. One mission is the launch of Artemis I, an unmanned spacecraft that will feature the first flight of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV). Originally scheduled to take place around March 2022, NASA will likely move the mission to the summer of 2022. There is also a water reconnaissance mission scheduled for 2023.

Israel Has an Active Space Program

Israel has its own space agency, which has launched civilian and military satellites for many years. The Israel Space Agency is also a part of many space exploration projects in conjunction with other agencies.

One example is the Spaceborne Hyperspectral Applicative Land and Ocean Mission (SHALOM). This joint mission by the Israeli Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency has several objectives, including the development of a hyperspectral satellite. Israel has many other space projects also involving international partners..

Who Benefits by Israel’s Decision to Join the Artemis Accords?

Now that Israel has chosen to sign the Artemis Accords, it is easy to see that the U.S. is creating leverage to use against its rivals in the space arena, namely China and Russia. While there is a gap in space law and both China and Russia are doubling down on their confrontational policies concerning the U.S., this decision by Israel is a useful countermeasure to the expansionism of China and Russia.

By creating a bloc of countries with active space programs concerning not only policy discussion but active engagement in space projects, the United States and the other parties to the Artemis Accords are creating boots on the ground. This is a show of force and of scientific and technological leadership. China and Russia will simply be left behind in technological development.

The next test is the successful launch and completion of the first phases of the Artemis project. Successful implementation of Artemis I will create a strong signal to China and Russia regarding what space’s future will hold.  

Dr. llan Fuchs is a scholar of international law and legal history. He holds a B.A. in Humanities and Social Science from The Open University of Israel and an M.A. in Jewish history from Bar-Ilan University. Ilan’s other degrees include an LL.B., a LL.M. and a Ph.D. in Law from Bar-Ilan University. He has published a book, “Jewish Women’s Torah Study: Orthodox Education and Modernity,” and 18 articles in leading scholarly journals. At the university, he teaches courses on international law while maintaining a law practice in several jurisdictions

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