Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, today announced Rashid 2, a new Emirati lunar mission that will be undertaken by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).
Sheikh Mohammed, accompanied by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, visited the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and met with the team behind the UAE’s first attempt to land a rover on the lunar surface. Stressing the importance of determination in achieving success in the space industry, Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE will continue to launch new space exploration missions.
He noted that though the attempt to land the Rashid Rover on the moon was unsuccessful, “we kept our aspirations high”.
“Emiratis have proved their ability to develop advanced space projects and rapidly create a vibrant national space sector,” he further 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."
Sheikh Hamdan said that any space mission has to contend with high levels of risk, which it manages in a scientific and systematic way to advance exploration and experimentation.
Sheikh Hamdan said the UAE will continue to develop its expertise and build an advanced space sector. Interacting with the MBRSC team, he said: “Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid once said ‘The biggest risk in life is not taking any risk’.”
Noting that the UAE is poised to enter a new phase of space exploration, he added: “Today, under the directives and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, we announce the launch of the Rashid 2 project, a new Emirati attempt to reach the moon.”
Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan met with the national team of the Emirates Lunar Mission (ELM) after the iSpace confirmed the unsuccessful landing of the HAKUTO-R lander on Wednesday.
Through the Emirates Lunar Mission, MBRSC accomplished its ambitious goal of designing and building the world's most compact rover and becoming the first Emirati and Arab rover to reach the lunar orbit before the landing attempt onboard iSpace’s HAKUTO-R lander. These achievements are momentous for a nation's first lunar mission and highlight the UAE's commitment to advancing space exploration.
About Rashid Rover
The Rashid Rover, integrated into iSpace’s HAKUTO-R lander, successfully lifted off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on 11 December at 11.38 AM UAE time from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force, Florida. The ELM marked the first Emirati lunar mission, making the UAE the first Arab country to ascend toward the lunar surface.
The world’s most compact rover, the Rashid Rover was built to traverse and explore the Moon's surface with a unique configuration. Weighing about 10 kg, the Rover is around 80 centimetres high, around 53.5 centimetres long, and close to 53.85 centimetres wide.
MBRSC partnered with 10 international and four UAE-based entities for the Emirates Lunar Mission's science programme. In collaboration with close to 40 scientists and researchers, MBRSC developed the main instruments, the optical cameras, microscopic imager and Langmuir probe on board the Rashid Rover.
Also accompanying Their Highnesses on the visit to MBRSC were His Excellency Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs; Talal Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Vice President of MBRSC; Hamad Obaid AlMansoori, Chairman of MBRSC; and Salem AlMarri, Director-General of MBRSC, and a number of senior officials of the Centre.