On Monday, The mission manager said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will launch its first lunar rover in November.
Hamad Al-Marzouqi told the National, a newspaper linked to the state, that the “Rashid” rover, named after Dubai’s ruling family, will be launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida sometime between November 9 and November 15. Announced next month.
He noted that the exact date will be announced next month.
The rover will be launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and deposited on the Moon by a Japanese lander sometime in March.
“We’ve finished with the testing of the rover and we are happy with the results,” Al Marzooqi was quoted as saying. “The rover has been integrated with the lander and it is ready for launch.”
The lunar mission is part of the UAE’s broader strategy to become a major player in the space field. If the moon mission succeeds, the UAE and Japan will join the ranks of only the US, Russia, and China as countries that have placed spacecraft on the lunar surface.
An Emirati satellite is already orbiting Mars to study the atmosphere of the red planet. The UAE has partnered with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to launch this probe, which launched into Mars orbit in February 2021.
The Rashid rover is expected to study the lunar surface, navigation on the lunar surface, and how different surfaces interact with lunar particles.
The 10-kg (22-pound) rover will carry two high-resolution cameras, a microscope camera, a thermal imaging camera, a probe, and other devices.
The UAE plans to develop the most advanced commercial satellite in the Middle East to produce high-resolution satellite images. It also set an ambitious goal of building a human colony on Mars by 2117.