UAE’s Rashid Rover takes one step closer to the Moon

Advancing lunar research with new phases
UAE’s Rashid Rover takes one step closer to the Moon
UAE's space program continues to reach new heights (Photo Credit: WAM)

The UAE is making history once again with the announcement that its Rashid Rover will land on the Moon after the Eid Al Fitr break. This marks the earliest announced date for the mission, which is part of the country’s ambitious space program.

ispace, a Japan-based company, has announced that the Rashid Rover’s landing is expected at 4.40 pm (UTC), which is around 8.40 pm UAE time. As of April 12, 2023, the Mission 1 lander is currently in an elliptical orbit around the Moon at an altitude ranging from 100km to 2,300km. There are three potential landing sites, and the actual landing date may change depending on which site is selected. Alternative landing dates, subject to operational status, are April 26, May 1, and May 3.

After landing, the Rashid Rover will proceed to complete the third milestone: the Arrival Phase (entry, descent, and landing). This is expected to be the most intense and challenging phase, as the lander will need to navigate to a specific location on the Moon based on its system’s calculations.

Following the Arrival Phase is the Deployment, Commissioning, and Drive-off phase, during which post-landing checks, instrument commissioning, and initial data collection will take place. This will be followed by the Nominal Surface Operations phase, during which the Rashid Rover will conduct continuous surface research and image capture for 10-12 days.

After the lunar day, the final two phases are hibernation and decommissioning, during which the rover prepares for the lunar night and all captured information is downloaded when the second communication is activated. The chances of the rover restarting after the lunar night are slim. However, if the rover does reactivate, the mission will be extended.

Read more: UAE astronaut Hazzaa Al-Mansoori marks another milestone on an Arab space mission

Mission objectives


The Rashid Rover mission aims to achieve several objectives. Firstly, it will carry out scientific research to gather new data and insights about the Moon’s surface and composition. This will help to advance our understanding of the Moon and its evolution over time.

Secondly, the mission seeks to demonstrate the UAE’s technological capabilities and expertise in the field of space exploration. By achieving a successful Moon landing, the UAE will establish itself as a major player in the global space race and inspire future generations of scientists and engineers.

Finally, the Rashid Rover will pave the way for future space exploration and colonization efforts. By demonstrating the viability of lunar missions, the UAE hopes to encourage further investment and collaboration in the field of space exploration and development.

The Rashid Rover was named after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the former ruler of Dubai and father of the current ruler. The rover will be launched into space on board the Emirates Lunar Mission, which is set to take off in 2024. The mission aims to gather new data and insights about the Moon’s surface, which will be useful for future research and exploration.

Significant strides


The UAE’s space program has been making significant strides in recent years, with the successful launch of its Hope Probe to Mars in 2020. The country is also set to launch its first astronaut into space shortly and has announced plans to build a spaceport for both commercial and scientific purposes.

The landing of the Rashid Rover on the Moon will be a historic achievement for the UAE and a major milestone for the country’s space program. It demonstrates the country’s commitment to advancing scientific research and exploration and underscores its status as a leader in the region’s space race.

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