UAE: Rashid rover en route to the Moon after successful takeoff UAE: Rashid rover en route to the Moon after successful takeoff
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UAE: Rashid rover en route to the Moon after successful takeoff

UAE: Rashid rover en route to the Moon after successful takeoff

The mission will study different aspects of the lunar surface

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The UAE launched its first mission to the surface of the Moon today.

Image Courtesy: MBR Space Centre Twitter

The Rashid rover took off on board a Space X Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, US, at 11.38am UAE time.

With this successful launch, the UAE has become the first Arab country and the fourth country in the world to land on the lunar surface after the United States, Soviet Union, and China.

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

The spacecraft carrying the rover was separated from the Falcon 9 rocket.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) said once launched, the integrated spacecraft will take a low-energy route to the moon rather than a direct approach. This means that the landing will take about five months after launch, in April 2023, official news agency WAM reported.

Image Courtesy: MBR Space Centre Twitter

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai witnessed the historic launch.

“A new stopover for our nation… A new stopover for our cadres and the youth… A new stopover leading to our journey to explore the Moon,” Sheikh Mohammed said, at the launch.

“Rashid Rover is part of the UAE’s ambitious space programme, which began with Mars, progressed to the Moon, and soon to Venus. Our goal is to increase our knowledge, enhance our capabilities, and leave a scientific legacy in the history of space and humanity,” he added.

He was accompanied by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, and Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Deputy Prime Minister.

Details of the Emirates Lunar Mission

The mission undertaken by the UAE will study the lunar surface and uncover insights that will catalyse the future of space exploration. The mission will study different aspects of the lunar surface, including lunar soil, thermal properties of surface structures, and the lunar photoelectron sheath.

Image Courtesy: MBR Space Centre Twitter

The Emirati lunar rover will land on an area of the Moon’s surface that previous lunar exploration missions have not explored. Therefore, it will offer highly valued data, images, and insights. During its mission, the lunar rover will collect scientific data on matters relating to the origin of the solar system, our planet and life.

The mission will go through seven milestones: Launch and Early Orbit, Cruise Phase, Landing phase, Deployment, Commissioning and Drive Off phase and Nominal Surface Operations. The mission will conclude with the last two phases of Hibernation and the Last Decommissioning phase.

Once the lander reaches the surface, the rover will spend one lunar day — nearly 10 to 12 Earth days — exploring the properties of lunar soil, the petrography and geology of the Moon, dust movement, and study surface plasma conditions and the Moon’s photoelectron sheath.

“We have made history with the launch, and what an incredible sight to watch the first Emirati mission to the Moon take off. It’s taken a lot to get here, and I congratulate everyone who was behind the mission. We now look forward to the landing on the Moon’s surface and completing the Emirates Lunar Mission, which will contribute to future explorations and beyond,” said Salem Al Marri, director general of MBRSC.

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