UAE’s Moon mission on track for launch attempt in November

The lander that will deliver the Rashid rover to the lunar surface is undergoing final testing

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Read More: Building Rashid — Inside the Dubai lab where the first Arab lunar rover is being brought to life

The UAE’s mission to the Moon is set for a launch attempt in November, as the Japanese lander that will deliver the Rashid rover to the lunar surface undergoes final testing in Germany.

Ispace inc, the private company behind the Mission 1 Hakuto-R lander, announced a launch window on Wednesday.

The mission will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Florida’s Cape Canaveral spaceport.

“We have made steady progress assembling the flight model — it is undergoing final testing now — and today I am pleased to share with you that our launch window has been set for as early as this November,” said Takeshi Hakamada, chief executive of ispace.

“We believe Mission 1 will be the turning point in commercial space exploration.

“It goes without saying that the technical data and experience gained from Mission 1 are extremely important for future lunar missions around the world, including our Mission 2, to be more reliable.”

The lander is a crucial part of UAE’s Moon mission because it will provide the thrust and landing capabilities needed to reach and land on the lunar surface.

It will also provide the rover with wireless communication so engineers can stay in contact with it.

Final testing of the Mission 1 lander, expected to be completed by September before it is delivered to the launch site, will ensure the spacecraft is ready for the harsh environment of space.

Rashid, a 10-kilogram rover, was shipped to France last month for its final testing.

After completion, it will be delivered to ispace so it can be integrated into the lander.

The UAE’s mission will last one lunar day, or 14 Earth days, and aims to study the properties of lunar soil, the petrography and geology of the Moon, dust movement, and the lunar surface plasma condition and photoelectron sheath.

The team hopes the rover can survive the lunar night, also 14 days, when temperatures reach -183°C.

This will be the UAE's first attempt to land a rover on the lunar surface under the country's long-term Moon exploration programme.

It has recently partnered with France to build lunar spacecraft.

Updated: July 20, 2022, 10:03 AM
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