20221212 rashidrover
File photo of a Rashid Rover miniature at the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News archives

Dubai: UAE’s moon-bound Rashid Rover has now spent a month in space and travelled around 1.34 million kilometres, following its successful launch in December 2022 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) said on Friday said the lunar rover - designed and built by Emiratis - is on track for its mission.

“The Emirates Lunar Mission (ELM) team has completed 220 minutes of communication with the world’s most compact rover. The team has completed all scheduled health assessment and maintenance checks of the rover and its onboard subsystems and instruments. For two weeks after the launch, the rover was powered on for 10 minutes daily, and the team on Earth is now communicating with it once every week,” MBRSC said.

MBRSC lunar mission
The ELM team at work at MBRSC in Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Cruise phase

During the ongoing four-month cruise phase, the ELM team will communicate with the Rashid Rover for another 150 minutes. The ELM team also noted that the Rashid Rover’s subsystems had been activated 17 times since launch. The subsystems were powered on for one hour the first time, followed by 10 minutes of daily activation over the subsequent two weeks. Currently, the rover’s subsystems are being powered on once every week for 10 minutes.

read more

Entry, descent, and landing

The team is now preparing for the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) phase and surface operations. They will conduct 12 simulated mission rehearsals organised at the MBRSC ground station for surface operations before the rover’s lunar landing in end-April.

The rehearsals will allow the engineering team to prepare their programmes for execution post the lunar landing while enabling different subsystem teams to sync their work.

The following navigation stage for the HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lunar lander that holds the Rashid Rover includes planned deep space orbital control manoeuvres and successfully targeting the first lunar orbit insertion.

Mission objective

During its mission, Rashid Rover will conduct numerous scientific tests on the surface of the Moon that will contribute to making qualitative developments in the fields of science, communication technologies, and robotics. The impact of these developments will extend beyond the space sector and into various vital sectors in the national and global economy.

The mission is funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), which aims to support research and development in the ICT sector in the UAE.