Sheikh Hamdan: UAE’s Moon rover clears final tests for historic mission

Dubai Crown Prince congratulates the team of engineers and experts behind the space project

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By Web Desk

Published: Wed 12 Oct 2022, 7:47 PM

Last updated: Wed 12 Oct 2022, 8:48 PM

The UAE's Rashid Rover is all set for its historic mission — with the final phase of testing now complete, the Dubai Crown Prince announced on Wednesday.

In a tweet, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said the rover has “officially cleared all the required tests, bringing the first Arab mission one step closer to the lunar surface”.

He then congratulated the team of engineers and experts at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), praising their efforts in developing the lunar rover.

Rashid Rover is now ready for the final integration process with the launch vehicle — the last stage before its liftoff. The launch window was set between November 9 and 15.

Built by Emiratis within the state-of-the-art laboratories of the MBRSC, the rover is equipped with the latest technologies. Its primary goal is to study the moon’s plasma and provide answers to long-standing questions about moon dust, mobility on the lunar surface, and how different surfaces interact with particles.

“The MBRSC can’t wait to see Rashid Rover begin its long-awaited flight to the moon. We are now all cleared and ready for the next step,” said Dr Hamad AlMarzooqi, project manager of the Emirates Lunar Mission (ELM).

Over the last four months, the Rashid Rover was placed under a series of rigorous internal and external reviews. All of its systems and subsystems were carefully tested at various stages — from the launch and the cruise, all the way to the planned descent.

At the beginning of the year, the lunar mission team completed the assembly and first set of full functional tests of the flight model in the laboratories of the MBRSC.

All the functionalities of the hardware and software were trialled in a setting that simulates all possible scenarios on the lunar surface. A heavy vibration test was also done at a laboratory in Abu Dhabi.

The rover was then taken to France where it cleared a series of environmental tests: It was heated and cooled to simulate the pressures and temperatures that it may encounter during its space odyssey.

It also had to pass another round of vibration checks to prepare it for possible conditions during the launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, and it was subjected to the same shocks it could experience upon touchdown. The tests campaign concluded in Germany with the last phase of checks on the interfaces with the ispace lander that will safely deliver the rover to the Moon's surface.

Besides bringing the Arab world to the moon, this mission is expected to address major questions about the geologic and surface science of the earth’s only natural satellite, Al Marzooqi explained.

The lunar mission will “engineer a new scientific reality for Emiratis” and pave the way for more space exploration missions, said Salem Al Marri, director-general of the MBRSC.

“This mission also exemplifies the nation's spirit of innovation and scientific progress, while also contributing to global space science research and explorations,” he added.


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