UAE partners with Japan for mission to send 'Rashid' rover to the moon
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UAE partners with Japan for mission to send ‘Rashid’ rover to the moon

UAE partners with Japan for mission to send ‘Rashid’ rover to the moon

The Emirates Lunar Mission is one of the initiatives under the Mars 2117 Programme, which aims to build a human colony on Mars

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has signed an agreement with Japan’s ispace, by virtue of which the latter will provide payload delivery services to the Emirates Lunar Mission.

The Japanese lunar exploration company will deliver the Emirates Lunar Mission’s ‘Rashid’ rover to the Moon, provide wired communication and power during the cruise phase, and engage in wireless communication on the lunar surface, according to the agreement.

The ‘Rashid’ rover will be transported to the Moon on ispace’s lunar lander during the company’s ‘Mission 1’ in 2022 – as per the planned launch schedule as of March 2021 – as part of its commercial programme ‘HAKUTO-R’.

Upon the execution of the mission, the UAE and Japan, together, are anticipated to be the next two nations to successfully put a spacecraft on the lunar surface, following the US, Russia and China.

Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani, director-general, MBRSC, said: “We are leveraging our advanced scientific and technological hub by partnering with international entities that will aid in creating a new space economy landscape in the country.

Our mission through scientific endeavours such as the Emirates Lunar Mission is to keep the UAE flag flying high and be at the forefront of countries contributing to scientific achievements that will change the face of humanity.”

“Our association with Japan’s ispace is in line with the MBRSC’s ambitious vision of growing a vibrant and sustainable space ecosystem through collaborations and partnerships,” said Adnan AlRais, Mars 2117 Programme Manager and Senior Director Remote Sensing Department, MBRSC.

“The Emirates Lunar Mission represents a milestone in the UAE’s space sector as the mission will contribute towards providing valuable data and information relating to the Moon that will serve the global scientific community as well as test capabilities that would be crucial for manned missions to Mars.”

Takeshi Hakamada, founder and CEO, ispace, said: “We are honoured that MBRSC has entrusted ispace’s lunar payload transportation service. The world will be watching as our commercial lander carries the ‘Rashid’ rover to the Moon.”

Dr. John Walker, Chief Rover Architect, ispace, said: “As the frequency and volume of small rovers traversing the lunar landscape is expected to increase in the coming years, we’re pleased to bring MBRSC’s ‘Rashid’ rover to the Moon to kickstart the next phase of lunar surface exploration.”

In September of last year, the UAE launched a new mission ‘Rashid’ to explore the moon.

Read: UAE launches new mission to land on the moon by 2024

The Emirates Lunar Mission will oversee the locally-built explorer land on the moon’s surface in 2024. It is one of the initiatives under the Mars 2117 Programme, which aims to build a human colony on Mars, and is funded by the ICT Fund under the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

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