The UAE has completed the final preparations to launch its rover to the moon in the Arab world’s first lunar mission, it was announced on Tuesday. Rashid rover will blast off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, US, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, embarking on a five-month journey to the moon, Arab News writes.
In a statement, Japan-based ispace inc. announced it had completed the integration of its HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lunar lander into the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. “We are pleased to have finished the first phase of the Mission 1 with the final preparations before launch completed,” said Takeshi Hakamada, Founder and CEO of ispace. “To do this, we utilized a design and development model that balanced reliability and low costs by employing proven technologies and components from around the world,” he added.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) invited viewers from all over the world to watch the launch live at 12:39pm UAE time (GMT+4).
The rover will land on the “unexplored moon surface at Atlas Crater, on the southeastern outer edge of Mare Frigoris (“Sea of Cold”)” in April 2023, the center said. “The target site criteria were carefully considered by the Emirates Lunar Mission Team, including the duration of continuous sun illumination and communication visibility from Earth,” the MBRSC said in a statement. Once launched, the integrated spacecraft will take a low-energy route to the moon rather than a direct approach.
If the lunar mission succeeds, the UAE will be the fourth country to land on the moon. The 10kg Rashid rover will study the properties of lunar soil, mobility on the lunar surface, the petrography and geology of the moon, dust movement, and study surface plasma conditions and the moon’s photoelectron sheath.
It will send data and images back to Earth, using two high-resolution cameras: Microscopic, and thermal imaging ones, said the mission’s team.
The lunar mission was the latest of the UAE’s effort in space exploration. Earlier in February 2021, the UAE made history by landing its Hope probe to Mars, becoming the first Arab nation to launch an unmanned mission to the red planet.