UAE Moon mission announces new launch date

The rover is expected to land on lunar surface about five months after the launch

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Sahim Salim

Published: Thu 24 Nov 2022, 12:07 PM

Last updated: Thu 24 Nov 2022, 4:27 PM

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has announced a new date for the launch attempt of the UAE’s first mission to the Moon. The Rashid Rover will now blast off to the lunar surface on Wednesday, November 30, at 12.39pm UAE time.

The Emirates Lunar Mission was supposed to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on November 28. Japan-based ispace inc (ispace), which will land the Emirati rover on the Moon, said the updated schedule is the result of “launch constraints such as unfavourable weather conditions”.

The new date and times are “subject to change depending on weather and other conditions”, ispace added.

The MBRSC said the integrated launch vehicle will start rolling out to the launch pad — Space Launch Complex 40 — at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida soon.

Once launched, the spacecraft will take a low-energy route to the Moon rather than a direct approach. This means that the rover will land about five months after the launch — in April 2023.

The M1 lunar lander was delivered by cargo plane to the US last month. It will carry multiple commercial and government payloads, including two rovers to the surface of the Moon.


The Rashid Rover — named after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, former Ruler of Dubai — has cleared all the required tests.

A successful mission would make the UAE the fourth country globally to land on the Moon.

The primary landing site of the Rashid Rover is the Atlas Crater on the southeastern outer edge of Mare Frigoris. A ‘mare’ is a flat, dark plain on the lunar surface. The site is located on the Moon's far north side and has not been explored previously.

The site was chosen along with multiple contingencies, which may be used depending on variables that occur during transit. The site meets the technical specifications of the lander technology demonstration mission and the scientific exploration objectives for the Emirates Lunar Mission.

The rover will explore the characteristics of lunar soil, dust movement, surface plasma conditions, and the Moon's photoelectron sheath.


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