Emirati engineers working at 'full speed' for Rashid Rover 2, says MBRSC chief

The first rover crashed onto the Moon's surface, after a private spacecraft carrying it failed to touchdown softly

A small team of Emirati engineers have developed the UAE's lunar mission. Photo: MBRSC
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Emirati engineers are working at “full speed” to develop the UAE's second mission to the Moon, the chief of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre has said.

Salem Al Marri, director general of the space centre, spoke to The National after investigation findings were released on the crash landing of a private spacecraft carrying the UAE's Rashid rover.

The Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander, which carried an Emirati and many international payloads, attempted a soft touchdown on the Moon's surface on April 26, but ran out of fuel due to an altitude miscalculation.

“Getting to the Moon, as we've said many times, is very difficult, very hard,” Mr Al Marri said.

“It seems small but obviously it's a complex set of events that led to that false reading, and then eventually running out of fuel and crashing.

“The main thing is that ispace now know exactly what happened and they can mitigate it in future missions.”

Dubai announces new Moon mission – Rashid rover 2

Dubai announces new Moon mission – Rashid rover 2

Ispace's investigations showed that a faulty software caused its lander to carry out incorrect altitude adjustments, ultimately causing it run out fuel right before a soft touchdown was expected.

Images taken by a Nasa rover showed four large pieces of debris scattered across the landing site.

The space centre has already started working on a second rover called Rashid 2.

As the UAE does not have its own landing capabilities, MBRSC would have to secure a lander again, like it did with the Hakuto-R, to send its rover to the Moon.

During a visit to the MBRSC, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai “instructed us to start working on the second rover,” Mr Al Marri confirmed.

“We're at full speed ahead. We're now looking at different elements of where this rover would be landing. So, the team is working very hard.

“The team is quite upbeat looking at the results of how close we got with ispace.”

He said the engineers are working on the design of the rover and the selection of the landing site.

“That really does make you feel like hopefully next time we can really make it and land on the surface of the Moon.”

New images reveal impact site on Moon where lander carrying UAE's Rashid rover crashed

Updated: May 26, 2023, 1:28 PM