UAE’s Moon mission to take off in less than a month: 2-day trials held

Once launched, the journey to the moon will take three to four months


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 31 Oct 2022, 3:36 PM

Last updated: Mon 31 Oct 2022, 9:16 PM

With a little over 20 days to go before the UAE’s mission to the moon takes off, the Emirates Lunar Mission team has carried out a rehearsal.

The two-day rehearsal used a qualification model of the Rashid Rover. Commanding a qualification model in a complex realistic terrain presents almost the same challenges as those of operating the actual one on the moon. The rehearsal is an important final step in preparing the ground teams and systems for the launch of the rover.

Japan-based ispace announced an updated launch window of “no earlier than November 22, 2022” for its M1 lander that will take the Rashid Rover to the moon. Once launched, the journey to the moon will take three to four months.

"With the announcement of the new launch date, we can now focus on the rover's launch and landing phases. We hosted trial sessions to prepare our engineering team on how to remotely conduct scientific and geology research using the Rashid Rover," said Dr Hamad AlMarzooqi, Emirates Lunar Mission project manager. “The model of the rover for the rehearsal is similar to the flight model that will be carried by the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in November. The test rover has received and executed daily commands via satellite communications and has successfully completed the mission control rehearsal.”

The Emirates Lunar Mission core team of mission controllers worked in the centre’s main control room during the rehearsal. They operated the actual mission control systems and ground tracking stations that will be used across four defined stages.

The command stages started with ‘issue mast deployment’, which moved the mast from the horizontal position to the vertical one. This was followed by the ‘issue antenna deployment command’ that activated the strength and capacity of the communication system. The ‘drive off command’ prepares the movement of the rover and the team with any communication time delay between Earth and Moon. The mission control rehearsal concluded with simulated image captures that activated the rover camera functionality on the surface of the moon.

Salem AlMarri, Director-General of the MBRSC, said: “The countdown begins for the nation’s much-awaited mission – Emirates Lunar Mission. With the launch target of November 22 or later, we will create history. We will witness the launch of the Rashid Rover, bringing us closer to our big goal: Exploring the surface of the moon and offering novel data to the scientific community.”

Built by innovative Emirati minds, the rover will be launched on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The rover is integrated into the Japanese Mission 1 – Hakuto R lander.


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