The UAE-built Rashid Rover, the first Emirati mission to the surface of the Moon, lifted off on board a Space X Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, US, at 11.38am UAE time Sunday.
With this successful launch, the UAE has become the first Arab country and the fourth country in the world to land on the lunar surface after the United States, Soviet Union, and China, UAE national news agency WAM reported.
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) said once launched, the integrated spacecraft will take a low-energy route to the moon rather than a direct approach, which means the landing will take about five months after launch, in April 2023.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, emphasized that the UAE’s space ambitions continue to be realized by achieving high levels of accomplishment and empowering space cadres to develop the national space sector and consolidate the country’s advanced position in space.
While witnessing the launch of the Rashid Rover from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre’s (MBRSC) Mission Control Centre, Sheikh Mohammed commented: “A new stopover for our nation... A new stopover for our cadres and the youth... A new stopover leading to our journey to explore the Moon.
“Rashid Rover is part of the UAE’s ambitious space program, which began with Mars, progressed to the Moon, and soon to Venus. Our goal is to increase our knowledge, enhance our capabilities, and leave a scientific legacy in the history of space and humanity,” HH added.
“Reaching the Moon is a milestone in our ambitious march to progress for our nation and its people, who know no limits. And our next step is bigger and higher,” HH further stressed.
Accompanying His Highness Sheikh Mohammed at the MBRSC’s Mission Control Centre were H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council; H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council; Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs; Talal Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Vice President of the MBRSC; and Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the MBRSC.
Rashid Rover will now cruise through space for nearly four months, aiming to land in the Moon’s Atlas Crater in April 2023.
The Emirates Lunar Mission is part of the new 2021-2031 strategy launched by the MBRSC, which includes the development and launch of Rashid, the first Emirati lunar rover named after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, builder of modern Dubai.
Being referred to as one of the world’s most compact rovers, the Rashid Rover was designed and developed by Emirati engineers from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre team. It aims to pave the way for humanity to make even more qualitative advances in science, technology, communication, and robotics while enabling us to prepare for future missions to the Moon and beyond.