Sweden becomes 38th country to sign NASA's Artemis Accords for moon exploration

Two men in dark suits shake hands while sitting at a table with documents and two small flags. Both men are wearing glasses.
Minister for Education Mats Persson and U.S. Ambassador Erik D. Ramanathan shake hands after the signing ceremony. (Image credit: Margareta Stridh/Regeringskansliet)

Another one signs the (moon) dust.

Sweden is the newest nation to sign onto NASA's Artemis Accords for peaceful and responsible exploration. During a signing event in Stockholm on Tuesday (April 16), Swedish Minister for Education Mats Persson penned the agreement alongside U.S. Ambassador Erik D. Ramanathan.

"By joining the Artemis Accords, Sweden strengthens its strategic space partnership with the U.S. on space covering areas such as Swedish space research and the space industry, which in turn also strengthens Sweden’s total defense capability," Persson said in a NASA statement.

Related: Switzerland signs Artemis Accords to join NASA in moon exploration

The event in Stockholm comes just on the heels of Switzerland's signing of the Artemis Accords the day before. Greece and Uruguay were also included in February. Sweden is now the 38th nation to join the accords, which were established in 2020, as the first Artemis moon launch inched closer to reality.

The Accords mirror principles set out in 1967, as part of the Outer Space Treaty to help govern international cooperation space. NASA is using the refreshed agreement as a guideline for the Artemis program, which aims to send astronauts back to the moon for the first time since Apollo 17, in 1972.

In the agency's statement, NASA administrator Bill Nelson welcomed Sweden to the expanding space club. 

"Our nations have worked together to discover new secrets in our solar system, and now, we welcome you to a global coalition that is committed to exploring the heavens openly, transparently, responsibly, and in peace," Nelson said, adding, "the United States and Sweden share the same bedrock principles, and we're excited to expand these principles to the cosmos."

NASA plans to return to the moon no earlier than 2025 with its Artemis 2 mission, which will see four astronauts fly around the moon and back. The following year, the agency aims to put a crew of four on the lunar surface with Artemis 3, marking humanity's first return to our natural satellite since 1972.

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Josh Dinner
Writer, Content Manager

Josh Dinner is Space.com's Content Manager. He is a writer and photographer with a passion for science and space exploration, and has been working the space beat since 2016. Josh has covered the evolution of NASA's commercial spaceflight partnerships, from early Dragon and Cygnus cargo missions to the ongoing development and launches of crewed missions from the Space Coast, as well as NASA science missions and more. He also enjoys building 1:144 scale models of rockets and human-flown spacecraft. Find some of Josh's launch photography on Instagram and his website, and follow him on Twitter, where he mostly posts in haiku.