UAE Moon mission: Here's what will happen after liftoff

The rover will land on the lunar surface about five months after the launch — in April 2023.

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Photo: Twitter
Photo: Twitter

Sahim Salim

Published: Wed 30 Nov 2022, 8:09 AM

Last updated: Sat 10 Dec 2022, 8:14 PM

[Editor's Note: This story was first published a few hours ahead of the target launch time on November 30. It has been revised to reflect the latest update.]

The UAE is all set to make history, with the Arab world's first lunar rover, the Rashid Rover, scheduled to take off as part of Japan-based ispace's Mission 1 tomorrow, December 11.

Salem AlMarri, Director-General of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre (MBRSC), said the teams stationed in Florida and the control centre in Dubai are "fully prepared" for the mission.

Once launched, the spacecraft will take a low-energy route to the Moon rather than a direct approach. Mission 1 will venture out to deep space and back again "on a sweeping trajectory designed to reduce the amount of fuel the spacecraft needs to carry", according to the European Space Agency (ESA).

This means that the rover will land about five months after the launch — in April 2023.

The ESA will ensure communication between the spacecraft and its teams on Earth throughout the mission.


Ispace fulfilled the first of its 10 success milestones on Tuesday: Completion of launch preparations. This included the integration of the Mission 1 lunar lander into the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Here is what follows after launch:

  • Completion of launch and deployment: This entails a successful separation of the lunar lander from the launch vehicle.
  • Establishment of a steady operation state: A communication link will be set up between the lander and mission control centre, confirming a stable attitude.
  • Completion of first orbital control manoeuvre: This will set the lander on a course towards the Moon.
  • Completion of stable deep-space flight operations for one month.
  • Completion of all deep space orbital control manoeuvres before lunar orbit insertion: This will utilise gravity assist effects and successfully target the first lunar orbit insertion manoeuvre.
  • Reach the lunar gravitational field/lunar orbit: The first lunar orbit insertion manoeuvre will be completed. The team will confirm that the lander is in a lunar orbit.
  • Completion of all orbit control manoeuvres in lunar orbit: This stage confirms that the lander is ready to start the landing sequence.
  • Completion of lunar landing.
  • Establishment of a steady system state after lunar landing: A steady telecommunication and power supply will be established on the lunar surface after landing.

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