Exciting news came from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which announced on Tuesday that it had completed the final preparations to launch its rover to the moon in the first lunar mission carried out by a Muslim country.
The rover “Rashid” is said to lift off from the Cape Canaveral Space Station in Florida, United States, on Wednesday, 30 November.
When first announcing the mission last September, UAE Moon Mission Manager Hamad Al Marzooqi explained that the rover “Rashid” is named for Dubai’s ruling family and will be launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and will be deposited on the moon by ispace Japan lunar rovers in March 2023.
Japan-based ispace inc has also announced that it has finished integrating the HAKUTO-R Mission 1 moon lander into the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. This was conveyed directly by the Founder and CEO of ispace, Takeshi Hakamada, who said he was pleased that his team had completed the first phase of Mission 1, with preparations ending before the launch was completed.
Hamada explains that to do this, his team leverages a design and development model that balances reliability and low cost using proven technology and components worldwide.
Through its official Twitter account, Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) invites viewers from around the world to witness this historic launch at 12:39 PM UAE time (GMT+4).
The rover is expected to land on the unexplored surface of the Atlas Crater, on the southeastern outer edge of Mare Frigoris, also known as the “Cold Ocean”, in April 2023.
The Rashid rover is expected to study the lunar surface, mobility on the lunar surface and how different surfaces interact with lunar particles.
The 10-kilogram rover is equipped with two high-resolution cameras, microscopic cameras, thermal image cameras, probes and other devices that are useful in sending data and images back to earth.
The mission to the moon is part of the UAE’s broader strategy to become a major player in space exploration.
If the mission is successful, the UAE will become the fourth country to land on the moon, following the ranks of the US, Russia and China as countries that have previously placed spacecraft on the moon’s surface.
Previously, the UAE had also made history by launching the Hope probe to Mars in February 2021, making it the first Muslim country to launch a crewless mission to the red planet.