Look: How Sheikh Zayed inspired the UAE space odyssey

The founding father was the guiding light of the programme that has ambitions to colonise Mars by 2117


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 12 Dec 2022, 3:53 PM

Last updated: Mon 12 Dec 2022, 4:49 PM

The UAE makes history — with the successful launch of the Arab world's first lunar rover Rashid.

This marks the start of an epic 385,000km odyssey that will make the UAE the fourth country to land on the moon, the first in the Arab world.

The launch of the Rashid Rover — named after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, former Ruler of Dubai — happened right on schedule at 11.38am (UAE time).

The founding father was the guiding light of the programme that has ambitions to colonise Mars by 2117.


Founding Father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan meets astronauts from several of the Apollo missions to learn about their experiences travelling to and from the moon. In 1973, US president Richard Nixon even gifted Sheikh Zayed a sliver of moon rock collected during the Apollo 17 from the Taurus-Littrow Valley of the moon. The rock now resides in the Al Ain Museum, labeled as a “symbol of the unity of the human endeavour”


The UAE begins establishing knowledge transfer programmes in preparation of a grand vision: to go to Mars


DubaiSat 1, the UAE’s first satellite is launched. It was built by the former Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) under an agreement with Satrec Initiative, a satellite manufacturing company in South Korea



The formation of the UAE Space Agency turns the spotlight on the country’s ambitious plans for the final frontier


Mars 2117 Strategy is unveiled. It seeks to build the first settlement on the Red Planet in the next 100 years. The UAE will build a complex of buildings called Mars Science City in Dubai. The Dh500 million city will cover 1.9 million square feet, making it the largest space-simulation city ever built


KhalifaSat, the country’s first indigenous satellite, designed and built at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, is launched from Japan


The UAE unveils National Space Strategy 2030, which sets the general framework for the space industry and activities carried out by public and private sectors for the years leading up to 2030


The Hope probe begins its journey to Mars from Tanegashima Space Centre in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan. The aim of the Emirates Mars Mission is to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere and the reasons for the absence of an environment suitable for life there


A team of Emirati engineers, researchers and experts at Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre begin designing the Rashid lunar rover


A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander with the UAE’s Rashid Rover inside blasts off

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