KEY DEVELOPMENTS WE’RE TRACKING
NASA to launch Artemis I mission to the moon. NASA is slated to launch the first major mission under its Artemis lunar exploration program on Aug. 29. The unmanned Artemis I mission will test the performance of the U.S. space agency’s new Space Launch System, the most powerful rocket ever built, and the Orion spacecraft in the hopes of certifying their use for future crewed missions. In addition to sending astronauts back to the moon for the first time in five decades, the United States is also seeking to set the rules for future space exploration and resource development by having the space programs of other countries that want to participate in the ambitious Artemis program first sign bilateral agreements with NASA. Through these agreements, known as the Artemis Accords, Washington hopes to force upon its view of how space should be governed and push back against China and Russia’s own interpretation of space law.
German chancellor to unveil views on EU policy. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will give a speech during his Aug. 29 visit to the Czech Republic (which holds the European Union’s rotational presidency) in which he is expected to outline Germany’s vision for the future of the continental bloc. While the Ukraine invasion forced Germany to significantly change its position on Russia (including the cancellation of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline and the delivery of weapons to Ukraine), Scholz has so far failed to present a comprehensive, long-term view of both Berlin’s foreign policy and EU policy. Amid the ongoing energy crisis, Scholz is expected to make proposals on continuing to diversify the European Union away from Russian oil and gas supplies, while also making the bloc more self-reliant and reducing carbon emissions. In addition, his speech is expected to touch on the topic of EU enlargement and include proposals on EU defense and security integration (in line with Scholz’s plans to increase military spending announced earlier this year).