UAE Moon Mission: determination fuels a second attempt

The UAE Moon Mission’s ambitious journey into the cosmos is taking another giant leap as Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, announces a second attempt to land a rover on the Moon, aptly named the Rashid 2. This resolute decision comes after the UAE’s Rashid rover encountered a misfortune during its previous lunar landing attempt.

The road to the stars

The Emirates Lunar Mission (ELM), headed by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), embarked on an audacious quest on the 11th of December, 2022. The Rashid Rover was integrated into Japan’s ispace Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander, and lifted off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force, Florida. This marked the UAE’s first Moon mission and made it the first Arab nation to venture towards the lunar surface.

The Rashid Rover, named after Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, a key figure in Dubai’s transformation, was a technological marvel. Touted as the world’s most compact rover, it weighed approximately 10 kilograms, and was engineered to explore the Moon’s surface with a bespoke configuration.

Equipped with two high-resolution cameras, a microscopic camera, and a thermal imaging camera, the rover was intended to study the lunar surface and the mobility on the Moon’s surface. Additionally, the Langmuir probe was designed to analyse the Moon’s plasma, giving insight into the mystifying stickiness of Moon dust.

The collaboration between MBRSC and ispace was a monumental one. The MBRSC partnered with 10 international and four UAE-based entities for the Emirates Lunar Mission’s science programme. Moreover, close to 40 scientists and researchers were involved in the development of the main instruments on board the Rashid Rover.

Unfortunately, the Hakuto-R lander lost contact just seconds before its attempted landing on 25th April 2023, culminating in the crash of the spacecraft into the Moon.

UAE Moon Mission: learning and rising

Sheikh Mohammed, during a visit to the MBRSC, reaffirmed the UAE’s commitment to continue with its space exploration endeavours. “Emiratis have proved their ability to develop advanced space projects and rapidly create a vibrant national space sector,” he said. “The UAE built a space sector from scratch within just 10 years. The Rashid Rover mission was driven by the country’s ambitious vision for space exploration.”

Dubai’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, stressed that the essence of space missions is managing risks through scientific and systematic approaches, pushing the boundaries of exploration and experimentation. He echoed Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s sentiment, stating, “The biggest risk in life is not taking any risk.”

Rashid 2: a renewed hope

Sheikh Hamdan announced the inception of the Rashid 2 project, marking the UAE’s renewed determination to reach the Moon. Under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, this second UAE moon mission reflects an unwavering spirit, one that accepts setbacks as stepping stones.

The UAE’s trailblazing venture into lunar exploration epitomises the nation’s unwavering resolve to be a leader in space science. With the second attempt now in the pipeline, the world watches with eager anticipation.

Image Credit Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Twitter account

Tags : UAE