Poland Artemis Accords
NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy and Polish Space Agency (POLSA) President Grzegorz Wrochna at a signing ceremony for the Artemis Accords Oct. 26 at the IAC in Dubai. Credit: SpaceNews/Jeff Foust

DUBAI, U.A.E. — Poland has joined the U.S.-led Artemis Accords for space exploration, hoping to use the agreement as a means of enhancing space cooperation between the two nations.

In a ceremony during the 72nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Polish Space Agency (POLSA) President Grzegorz Wrochna signed the Accords, which outline best practices for safe and sustainable space exploration, with NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. Poland is now the 13th country to join the accords.

In brief comments at the ceremony, Wrochna said he saw the Artemis Accords as a first step toward greater cooperation with the United States. He noted that while Poland is a member of the European Space Agency, Polish space companies are looking to expand their business outside Europe.

“They want to reach for new markets, especially the U.S. market,” he said. “They want to participate in missions of other agencies, especially NASA. We would like to open the door for them, and I believe this is the first step.”

The United States announced the Artemis Accords in 2020, intending to outline high-level principles for space exploration, based largely on the Outer Space Treaty and other agreements, that it expected countries to follow if they wanted to cooperate on the Artemis lunar exploration program. Eight countries, including the U.S., signed the Accords at the IAC in 2020, followed subsequently by Ukraine, South Korea, New Zealand and Brazil.

“We are thrilled that Poland has agreed to endorse the principles espoused in the Artemis Accords. These are very simple and universal principles, but they will enable the next generation of international partnerships for the exploration of the moon and beyond,” Melroy said at the ceremony. “We thank Poland for becoming a part of this distinctive group.”

She also endorsed work to “identify and expand opportunities for partnership and cooperation in space” between the U.S. and Poland. “I look forward to even closer ties between our nations in the months and years ahead.”

“Can we send a Polish astronaut to the moon? Maybe,” Wrochna said. “But I would like to make sure that Polish equipment, Polish instruments will fly to the moon and to other bodies, and I believe that this is the first step for that.”

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...