Sky is not the limit for UAE's space ambitions: Sheikh Mohammed after Rashid rover launch

Reaching the Moon is an exceptional milestone, Ruler of Dubai says on Twitter

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The sky is not the limit for UAE's space ambitions, said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, after Sunday's successful launch of the Rashid lunar rover.

"Reaching the Moon is an exceptional milestone in the ambitious journey of the country, whose people's aspirations have no bounds," Sheikh Mohammed wrote on Twitter.

"Rashid rover is part of an ambitious space programme for the UAE. It started with Mars, then to the Moon, and our goal is to reach Venus.

"Our goal is to transfer knowledge, develop our capabilities, and add a scientific footprint in human history."

Sheikh Mohammed witnessed the lift-off from Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre on Sunday.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, and Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and other officials also attended the event.

Sheikh Hamdan said: "Our next stop is 384,400km away. We look forward to Rashid leaving an Arab footprint on the surface of the Moon.

"We thank team @MBRSpaceCentre for the launch of the Rashid Rover and for raising the UAE flag in space."

The UAE launched the Arab world’s first mission to the Moon on Sunday, marking a historic beginning for the country’s long-term lunar exploration programme.

Skies lit up across the launch site at Cape Canaveral, Florida, when a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off with 163 tonnes of thrust to deliver the Rashid rover to a lunar transfer orbit in space.

The small rover is now on its way to the Moon aboard the Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander, built by Japanese lunar exploration company ispace, on a journey expected to last five months.

The rocket blasted off into space at 11.39am UAE time from the Launch Complex 40 pad, a site operated by the US Space Force.

Ispace’s lander separated from the rocket about 35 minutes after lift-off and then began its solo journey to the Moon.

SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 booster landed safely back on the company’s drone ship only eight minutes after delivering the lander to space.

Last year, the UAE announced a five-year exploration mission to the main asteroid belt, an asteroid landing and a Venus fly-by. A target launch date is set for 2028.

Updated: December 12, 2022, 7:00 AM