DUBAI, 31st October, 2022 (WAM) — The maiden launch of the ‘Rashid Rover’ from the Mohammed Bin Rasched Space Center (MBRSC) is now scheduled for 22nd November 2022 at the earliest. This date is provided by the launch partners.
Built by innovative Emirati minds, the Rover will launch on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Station in Florida.
The Rover is integrated with the Japanese Mission 1 – Hakuto R lander, developed by ispace Inc. Once launched, the journey to the moon will take about 3-4 months.
Commenting on the big announcement, MBRSC Director General Salem AlMarri said, “The countdown begins for the country’s long-awaited mission – Emirates Lunar Mission. With the launch target of November 22 or later, we We will make history. We will witness the launch of the Rashid Rover, bringing us closer to our great goal: to explore the surface of the Moon and offer new data to the scientific community.”
With around 20 days to go, the Emirates Lunar Mission team spent time rehearsing their roles and individual surface objectives to figure out when the day of landing will take center stage.
The 2-day repeat used the qualifying model which is similar in size and capability to the Rashid Rover. The similarities between its qualification and flight models are great enough that operating it in complex and realistic terrain will present similar challenges to the Rashid Rover on the Moon. This is an important final step in preparing crews and ground systems for the November 22 or later departure to the Moon.
“With the announcement of the new launch date, we can now focus on the launch and landing phases of the rover. We have held test sessions to prepare our engineering team on how to carry out remote scientific and geological research using the Rover,” said Emirates Lunar Mission Project Manager Dr. Hamad AlMarzooqi. “The Rover model for the rehearsal is similar to the flight model that will be carried by the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in November. The test rover received and executed daily commands via satellite communications and successfully completed the rehearsal. mission control,” he added.
The Emirates Lunar Mission Core Team and Mission Controllers worked in the center’s main control room during the rehearsal, operating mission control systems and ground tracking stations that will be used across four legs defined.
The command steps began with the “transmit mast deploy command” which moved the mast from the horizontal to the vertical position, which is an important command for mission success. This was followed by the “transmit antenna deployment command” which activated the strength and capability of the communications system. The third command includes “shutdown commands” which prepare the rover for movement and prepare the team for any communication delays between Earth and the Moon. The mission control rehearsal ended with simulated image captures that activated the rover’s camera functionality on the Moon’s surface.
AlMarzooqi added, “We have gradually improved our understanding of how the rover and ground systems interact, and our teams have mastered Moon surface operations. We have completed this phase of the rehearsal and everything we have learned will help us complete the mission on the surface of the Moon.
Translated by: Mervat Mahmoud.