According to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, the UAE is set to launch its first mission to the moon on November 30, at precisely 12.39 UAE time, if weather conditions allow it.
The Rashid Rover, which was built by a small team of Emiratis at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, will be delivered by ispace, a Japanese lunar exploration company, via its Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander, marking another first for the company to carry out a commercial cargo mission to the moon.
Expected to reach the moon in late April, the four-wheel rover, which weighs 10 kilograms, will attempt to land on the Moon’s Atlas Crater on the south-eastern outer edge of the Mare Frigoris or Sea of Cold.
Once there, the lunar rover will spend a lunar day, the equivalent of 14 Earth days, on the Moon’s surface to study its geology and lunar dust. It will also use its high-resolution cameras to take a carousel of images of the Moon’s surroundings.
Story Update [30 Nov, 2022]: The launch date has been delayed to December 1st.
Story Update [1 Dec, 2022]: The launch date has been delayed a fourth time, with no other date released.
Today, ispace, inc. (ispace) announced that the “Dec. 1, 2022, launch attempt of its HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lunar lander has been postponed, which will allow SpaceX to perform additional pre-flight checks of the launch vehicle.”
SpaceX in a tweet this morning said: “After further inspections of the launch vehicle and data review, we’re standing down from tomorrow’s (today) launch of ipsace_inc’s HAKUTO-R Mission 1; a new target launch date will be shared once confirmed.”
“To allow SpaceX to perform additional pre-flight checks of the launch vehicle, we are no longer targeting Dec.1 for our HAKUTO-R M1 launch.”
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) also tweeted: “SpaceX announced a stand down from today’s launch of the Falcon 9 rocket, carrying abroad the Rashid Rover, after inspections of the launch vehicle and data review. A new target launch date will be confirmed.”
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