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SpaceX rocket carries the first ever Arab-built moon rover into space

SpaceX rocket carries the first ever Arab-built moon rover into space

SpaceX rocket carries the first ever Arab-built moon rover into space

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched on December 11 from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, carrying into space the first ever Arab-built lunar spacecraft.

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  • It is the first lunar spacecraft ever made in the Arab world sent to orbit
  • On December 11, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
  • The mission is travelling to the moon on a low-energy trajectory and is scheduled to touch down in April 2023.
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The HAKUTO-R lander, developed by Japanese lunar exploration company ispace, is carrying the Rashid Rover, which was manufactured by Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). HAKUTO-R will be the first commercial spacecraft to ever execute a controlled moon touchdown if the landing is successful.

The mission is travelling to the moon on a low-energy trajectory and is scheduled to touch down in April 2023. Once there, the rover will carry out its primary tasks for one lunar day (equal to 14.75 days on Earth). Before decommissioning, it will spend a second lunar day doing secondary operations to see if the rover can withstand the hostile nighttime environment on the moon.
The rover, which is slated to land in the Atlas crater on the moon’s northeast, has been built to resist lunar night, when temperatures can drop as low as -183°C (-297.4°F).

The Rashid Rover will investigate the plasma on the lunar surface and carry out tests to learn more about lunar dust. It is named after the late Sheikh Rashid Al Saeed, the former ruler of Dubai. Astronauts may experience operational issues as a result of spacesuits and equipment being adhered to and corroded by razor-sharp lunar dust particles.
The rover will include four cameras, including tiny and thermal ones, and run exclusively on solar power.

The launch, which follows NASA’s Artemis I lunar mission, is the first phase of the UAE’s comprehensive moon exploration programme. The Gulf nation intends to launch a second rover as early as 2025 and has further plans to send orbiters, rovers, and other spacecraft to the moon.

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At the MBRSC, work on the 10 kilogramme, four-wheel Rashid Rover started in 2017. It was created by a team of only Emiratis. According to the project manager of the Emirates Lunar Mission at the MBRSC, Hamad Al Marzooqi, “the team did a tremendous job in launching the mission and developing it.”

A Mars colony is another ambitious goal of the MBRSC that will be supported by the expedition. By 2117, it plans to establish the first human community on Mars. Al Marzooqi envisions the lunar surface expedition as a gateway to Mars.

He says, “We’re only getting started, but we’re hoping that this little step will eventually be where we start to attain our goals.”

 

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