UAE's Moon mission announces new launch date

The 10-day official countdown for the country’s first ever journey to the moon begins today


Nandini Sircar

Published: Thu 17 Nov 2022, 7:46 AM

Last updated: Thu 17 Nov 2022, 8:19 PM

The UAE's mission to the Moon -- Rashid Rover will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on November 28 now.

The new launch date was announced during a Mission 1 pre-launch press conference from Japan on Thursday citing the impact of Hurricane Nicole that struck Florida.

The launch time has been set at 12.46pm UAE time. However, the dates and times are subject to change depending on weather and other conditions.

Japan-based ispace inc, which is a global lunar resource development company will land the Rashid Rover on the lunar surface.

Takeshi Hakamada, Founder and CEO ispace inc. said: “after repeated discussions with Space X and confirming the status from the launch site in Florida…we have been impacted by the hurricane, but I am very pleased to be able to announce the date of the launch.”

File photo
File photo

Countdown begins

Meanwhile, a team from the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre (MBRSC) has already reached Florida (US) for the launch of the nascent Emirati Mission to Moon and the 10-day official countdown has begun from Thursday.

Salim Al Marri, Director General of Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre (MBRSC) earlier took to Twitter, to announce that he and his team have arrived in Florida this week for the liftoff of the Emirates’ first Lunar Mission.

AlMarri took to Twitter to announce their arrival. “In Florida this week with our team, we are preparing for the launch of the 1st Emirati mission to the Moon. …We are preparing with Nasa for Sultan Al Neyadi’s launch next year.”

10 milestones for Mission 1

Explaining the outline of Mission 1 which has 10 milestones, Ryo Ujiie, chief technology officer, of ispace, inc. said: “The separation time is 15 minutes after the launch, and it will travel in space for about five months. We also have verifications tests. There are 10 milestones. We need to see how much we can achieve in Mission 1 that can prove to be helpful for other missions M2 and M3 by 2025. The first milestone is the completion of the launch preparation. A lot of tests and trial and errors have happened to reach this stage.”


He adds: “Completion of launch and separation is the second one. After the separation of the launcher from the rocket that will prove that the launcher structure can withstand the harsh launch conditions. The third one is the establishment of a steady operation state. It is critical to establish a communication between the launcher and the ground control. After a couple of days, completion of first orbital control manoeuvre happens. This is the first trajectory control. The fifth one is the completion of stable deep space flight operation for one month.”

Shedding light on Lunar Orbit insertion (LOI) that must take place at exactly the right time to put M1 in the correct orbit, Ujiie says, “The sixth one is the completion of all deep space orbital control manoeuvres before Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI). The seventh one, LOI is a critical phase and a big milestone that allows entry into the lunar gravitational sphere to reach the lunar orbit. We have done a lot of experiments for this.”

Rashid Rover's landing site will be Atlas crater, located at 47.5°N, 44.4°E, on the southeastern outer edge of Mare Frigoris (Sea of Cold). Mare Frigoris lies in the far lunar north.

The Rashid Rover, once landed, will explore the characteristics of lunar soil, the petrography and geology of the Moon, dust movement, surface plasma conditions, and the Moon's photoelectron sheath.

“Completion of all orbit control manoeuvres in Lunar orbit is the eighth milestone. Following this is the ninth milestone which is the completion of the Moon landing, and typically takes about one hour. The last one is the establishment of the steady system after lunar landing,” explains Ujiie.

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