| Insights | Authored Article

The Artemis Accords: Interpretation and Assessment in Light of Existing Law

Samantha Renshaw, attorney in the firm’s Birmingham office and member of the Energy Practice, shared insights on the Artemis Accords in the lead article published by Creighton International and Comparative Law Journal, titled “The Artemis Accords: Interpretation and Assessment in Light of Existing Law.”

In the article published April 22, 2023, Samantha discussed the Artemis Accords, an agreement signed by more than 20 countries to reinforce and implement the Outer Space Treaty. It was formed as a result of coalition states seeking to return to the Moon and make an eventual trek to Mars. The Accords aim to incorporate established international norms into a modern agreement, emphasizing the peaceful use of space, transparency, and practical provisions for future space activities.

The article explains that while the Artemis Accords emphasize peaceful purposes for space, the agreement does not explicitly mention any specific prohibitions outlined in prior space treaties. Samantha also points out that the Accords fail to address gaps in the law regarding the use of weapons of mass destruction for self-defense and the militarization of outer space.

Samantha noted that the Accords created a solid foundation for future cooperation in space activities among the Signatories, particularly through the provisions protecting activities from harmful interference and improving interoperability of infrastructure.

The article concludes that it is not surprising that the Accords do not address all the gaps in existing space law. The parties to the Outer Space Treaty, including the United States and other signatories, have no immediate incentive to establish binding rules in case any signatory rescinds the treaty in the future. It is also unlikely that any group of states would restrict their activities more under the Artemis Program than under other programs governed by international space law. Therefore, the absence of stricter rules for compliance with existing law, particularly regarding the Registration Convention, is not unexpected.

Samantha’s practice focuses on regulatory, licensing, and compliance issues for nuclear utilities across the U.S. She also has experience in privacy and cybersecurity, ensuring compliance with state, federal, and international law.