UAE's Moon mission: Rashid rover launch postponed for second time

SpaceX says further checks needed on rocket that will deliver the lander and rover

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket like this one will carry the Hakuto-R lander into space on Thursday, on the start of a five-month journey to the Moon. Inside the lander is the UAE's Rashid rover, which will roam the lunar surface. Photo: Nasa / EPA
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The Arab world's first mission to the Moon has been postponed for a second day just hours before the launch on Thursday.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander, with the UAE's Rashid rover inside it, was due to blast off at 12.37pm UAE time.

"After further inspections of the launch vehicle and data review, we're standing down from tomorrow's launch of @ispace_inc's HAKUTO-R Mission 1; a new target launch date will be shared once confirmed," SpaceX wrote on Twitter.

Officials are hopeful of a new launch date in the coming days, The National's Sarwat Nasir in Cape Canaveral, Florida, says. An earlier launch on Wednesday was also postponed.

The Emirati-built rover will be stored inside Japanese lunar exploration company ispace’s Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander, which will transport the vessel to the Moon's surface.

The four-wheel vehicle will spend one lunar day on the Moon's surface to study its geology and dust. It is expected to capture thousands of images of its surroundings with high-resolution cameras.

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Updated: December 01, 2022, 1:45 AM