InternationalPolicy

Bulgaria to Join Artemis Accords

Image: NASA

Bulgaria will become the 32nd nation to join the Artemis Accords during a signing ceremony on Thursday in DC, NASA announced yesterday.

NASA chief Bill Nelson, Bulgarian officials, and representatives from the US State Department will participate in the ceremony at NASA HQ. 

Accords 101: The US rolled out the Artemis Accords in October 2020 with eight founding nations. The guidelines for the responsible use of space may share a name with the US-led Artemis program to return humans to the Moon, but the scope of the agreement is much broader than the lunar mission, including collaboration on priorities such as space sustainability and cooperating to mitigate orbital debris. 

Three makes a trend: Bulgaria is the third nation to sign on to the diplomatic agreement that was announced in the past week. The Netherlands became the 31st signatory in a ceremony on Nov. 1 in DC.   

Iceland also signed on to the accords without fanfare in October, NASA announced on Nov. 1.

Bulgarian space sector: The former Soviet state has sent two citizens to space, most recently in 1988 when Alexander Alexandrov spent about 10 days on the Russian Mir space station. The nation has signed a European cooperation state agreement with the European Space Agency, and wants to become an associated member, officials said this year. 

“Bulgaria has a tradition in space research and technology but it has lost momentum over the last few years and needs to catch up,” Deputy Innovation and Growth Minister Stefan Savov said in March. “The European Cooperating State Agreement between the Bulgarian government and the ESA, which was signed last year, is an instrument for the development of the space sector.”

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