The UAE will launch its Rashid rover to the moon between November 9 and November 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center this year, Dr. Hamad Al Marzouqi, mission director at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC), revealed at the 2022 Paris International Astronautical Conference. He said that The exact date will be announced about a month before the launch window opens.
The MBRSC rover will reach the moon in a lander called Hakuto-R, which is being developed by the Japanese company ispace, atop a SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Earlier today, the UAE Space Agency tweeted about an official meeting with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to “discuss aspects of cooperation, activities and future initiatives aimed at enhancing integration and cooperation in space exploration programmes.”
The Emirates Space Agency held a meeting with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), to discuss aspects of cooperation and future activities and initiatives aimed at enhancing integration and cooperation in space exploration programmes.# IAC2022 pic.twitter.com/H4GoHSKejn
— Emirates Space Agency (@uaespaceagency) September 22 2022
According to Marzouki, the relevant space agencies have completed testing of the probe and it has been successfully integrated into the probe.
About the first lunar mission of the United Arab Emirates
Rashid’s rover weighs about 10 kilograms, and will be delivered to Atlas Crater at Marie Frigoris, the far north of the moon’s far side and its mission will last one lunar day or 14 Earth days.
The four-wheeled rover, which measures 53 centimeters by 53 centimeters, will be the smallest lander on the Moon. It is equipped with a thermal imager, a microscope imager and a pair of high-resolution cameras to study the properties of lunar soil, dust and rock movements, and lunar geology. The rover will also study the state of the plasma and photoelectronsphere around the lunar surface using a special instrument designed to examine the charged environment.
This announcement comes a few days after the United Arab Emirates announced its agreement with China for a second mission to the moon. The second mission involves another rover that will be delivered to the lunar surface inside a lander being developed by the China National Space Administration (CNSA).
The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by His Excellency Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director General of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center, and Wu Yanhua, Deputy Director of CNSA, is the first joint space project between the UAE and China. pic.twitter.com/LSWlnzZCnu
– MBR Space Center (MBRSpaceCentre) September 16, 2022
And the UAE Space Agency wrote on Twitter last week: “The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center and the Chinese National Space Administration are signing a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in future lunar missions, which include landing a spacecraft belonging to the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center on board the CNSA landing craft.” The second Emirati rover, Rashid 2 will be part of China’s Chang’e-7 mission, which is scheduled to launch in 2026. The Chang’e-7 mission will land on the south pole of the Moon as part of China’s plan to eventually establish a lunar base.