Mohammed Bin Rashid
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai , launches Emirates Lunar Mission 'Rashid' on Tuesday. Image Credit:

Dubai: UAE launched the Emirates Lunar Mission with the introduction of its very own luner rover named ‘Rashid’ on Tuesday.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai announced on Twitter: “We have launched the Emirates Lunar Mission, a 100% Emirati-made lunar rover that will land on the surface of the moon by 2024 in areas not yet reached by previous exploration missions. We named the rover “Rashid” in honour of the man who sparked Dubai’s advancement.”

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Emirate lunar
A 100% Emirati-made lunar rover to land on the surface of the moon by 2024 in areas not yet reached by previous exploration missions. Image Credit:

“The UAE will be the 4th country in the world to carry out moon exploration missions and the 1st in the Arab world. The lunar explorer will send data and images for the first time from new lunar regions that will be shared with local & international research centers,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

Only three countries so far have successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon- USA, the former Soviet Union and China. India, Japan and Israel all attempted but failed to land a spacecraft on moon’s surface.

Back in July, the UAE launched Hope Probe, the first Arab interplanetary mission to Mars. The orbiter which will provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere is set to reach the Red Planet in February 2021, the year the UAE celebrates its golden jubilee.

Earlier this week, Sheikh Mohammed announced that the UAE would send the first Arab mission to the moon by 2024. He emphasised that the future strategies and programmes developed by the UAE in the space sector enhance its position in the club of pioneering countries in space exploration and development of international cooperation in this sector, as they support the knowledge-based economy and innovation and qualify a capable generation of national cadres who acquired knowledge and experience, and inspire generations of Arab youth in the region and increase their ambition, challenge and excellence in all fields.

First Arab mission to moon

The strategy also covers the UAE project to explore the moon and send the first Arab mission with national competencies by 2024, in addition to the ambitious Mars 2117 strategy that employs the latest human knowledge to explore outer space.

It also includes a satellite development programme to enhance the industry's expertise at the national level and sustain data provision by Emirati satellites, such as DubaiSat-4, KhalifaSat, and Mezn Sat.

The project is part of the UAE’s space strategy and the recently launched Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre strategy 2021-2031. The project will also help boost UAE efforts in the fields of space science and research.

The rover has been named after the late Sheikh Rashid to honour his vision to develop Dubai. The Emirati-made rover will explore areas of the Moon that have not been reached by previous missions. The project will make the UAE the fourth country in the world to participate in a moon exploration mission and the first in the Arab region.

Sheikh Mohammaed affirmed that the UAE space project is huge and the country has the determination and human capital to succeed.

3D cameras

The lander will include 3D cameras, an external suspension structure, sensing systems, solar panels and communications system. The lander will study the dust on the Moon’s surface.

Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri asserted that Emirates Lunar Mission reflects UAE’s determination to complete its space strategy according to the vision of the leadership that support scientific research and celebrate achievements.

Al Mansouri said the project is a clear indicator that the UAE has the human capital, expertise, and capabilities to explore the outer space.

Culture of innovation

Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center, said Emirates Lunar Mission project demonstrates the leadership’s efforts to root down the culture of innovation and excellence in our community. He added that the project also redefine the scientific seen in the Arab world and will funnel the Arab science community with new knowledge and experiences.