The Slovenia Times

Way paved for Slovenia to participate in US space programmes

NASA astronaut Randolph Bresnik, US Ambassador Jamie L. Harpootlian, and Matevž Frangež, a state secretary at the Slovenian Economy Ministry. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Slovenia has joined the Artemis Accords, a set of principles for cooperation in the civil exploration and use of the Moon, Mars, comets and asteroids for peaceful purposes. The step paves the way for cooperation in the US space programmes.

Slovenia became the 39th country to sign the Artemis Accords on 19 April, during a visit by senior US officials in Ljubljana for a meeting of the group for strategic dialogue between the two countries.

"Slovenia joins the principles, values and rules on the peaceful use of space as a common good of humanity," said Economy Ministry State Secretary Matevž Frangež, who signed the document on Slovenia's behalf.

"At the same time, it is opening an exceptionally important strategic door to cooperation in the US space programmes," he added.

Just the day before, the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee approved the government's decision to take up the official invitation of the European Space Agency for full membership.

Deputy Associate General Counsel for International and Space Law at NASA Rebecca Bresnik and her husband Randolph Bresnik, a NASA astronaut with Slovenian roots, noted the advantages of cooperation between Slovenia and the US in space exploration.

Bresnik believes Slovenia is considered a growing space nation. The country has shown great promise in space exploration, she told the Slovenian Press Agency, hopeful that Slovenia's space research will contribute to the Artemis Moon exploration program.

The group for strategic dialogue between the two countries discussed global and regional security issues and cooperation in business, energy, defence, cyber security and fighting disinformation.

On the occasion, a memorandum on measures against foreign manipulation of information was signed by US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James C. O'Brien, and Sanja Štiglic, a state secretary at the Slovenian Foreign Ministry. The pair also chaired the meeting.

O'Brien said the dialogue was also devoted to looking for new opportunities in science, technology, artificial intelligence and space exploration.

The meeting also discussed the Phoenix project, which provides consulting and technical support for the conversion of existing coal-fired power plant sites to sites generating energy with small modular nuclear reactors.

Environment Ministry State Secretary Tina Seršen said that by participating in the project, Slovenia will be able to receive technical support from the US in preparing a study on the suitability of the use of small modular reactors.


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