UAE's Rashid rover enters moon's orbit
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UAE’s Rashid rover enters moon’s orbit

UAE’s Rashid rover enters moon’s orbit

The iSpace lander carrying the rover executed the lunar orbit insertion manoeuvre on March 21

Divsha Bhat
Rashid rover

The first Emirati rover to land on the moon, Rashid Rover, has successfully entered the lunar orbit, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has announced.

The iSpace lander carrying Rashid rover executed the lunar orbit insertion manoeuvre at 5:24am UAE time on March 21, following the mission operation plan and under the guidance of lander engineers.

The manoeuvre involved a controlled burn from the lander’s main propulsion system and lasted for several minutes, and it was completed successfully.

The completion of this manoeuvre marks a significant milestone for the Rashid rover, with only five remaining subsystem checks to go before the upcoming milestones.

The landing sequence is expected to commence around late April 2023, with the announcement of the specific date and time to be made in the coming days after the completion of all lunar orbital manoeuvres.

“We are proud of the UAE’s newest space achievement. The lunar lander carrying the Rashid Rover has safely entered the moon’s orbit taking us a step closer to a lunar landing.

The support of our leadership & the dedication of our youth continue to drive our space ambitions forward,” Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council tweeted.

Rashid rover milestones

Post the successful completion of the first milestone that is the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP), and the second milestone the cruise phase, Rashid rover is now on its way to completing the third milestone: the Arrival Phase (Entry, Descent, and Landing).

The next is the deployment, commissioning and drive-off phase.

Once the Lander has landed on the lunar surface, deployment, commissioning and drive-off command sessions will begin.

Data collection

Following completion of the post-landing checkout, instrument commissioning and initial data collection will begin.

Following that is the Nominal Surface Operations phase, which is the mission itself.

For 10-12 days, the rover will conduct continuous surface research and image capture.

The final two phases after the lunar day are hibernation and last decommissioning.

The rover prepares for the lunar night. When the secondary communication is activated, all information captured is downloaded and every effort is made to ensure that no information is missed, before the hibernation phase.

The chances of the rover restarting are slim; however, if the rover is activated after the lunar night then the mission will be extended to operate throughout the second lunar night which will end by the decommissioning phase.

The mission undertaken by the UAE to study the surface of the moon is considered a gateway for future exploration of other planets.

The mission is funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority which aims to support research and development in the ICT sector in the UAE.

Read: Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre receives first signal from Rashid rover

Also read: UAE’s Sultan Al Neyadi arrives at ISS to begin six-month space mission

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