UAE to launch first lunar rover ‘Rashid’ in November
'Rashid' – named after Dubai's ruling family – will be propelled aboard a Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket
The United Arab Emirates will launch in November from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, The United States, between November 9 and 15.
"Rashid" – named after Dubai's ruling family – will be propelled aboard a Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket and deposited on the moon by a Japanese lander in March 2023.
The 22-pound rover is expected to study the lunar surface, mobility on the moon's surface, and how different surfaces interact with lunar particles. It will carry two high-resolution cameras, a microscopic camera, a thermal imaging camera, and a probe, among other devices.
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It is the first lunar spacecraft built by an Arab country and will take part in a lunar mission that is part of the UAE’s strategy to become a major player in space exploration.
In October 2021, Israel and the UAE signed an agreement on space exploration, including collaborating on the "Beresheet 2" mission to the moon set to launch in 2024 and is expected to break space history by executing a double landing on the moon in one mission.
The space deal was yet another sign of the burgeoning relationship between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi since the establishment of diplomatic relations as part of the Abraham Accords.
A team of 11 engineers from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center has been building "Rashid" since 2017. In what the Mohammed Space Center calls a science mission, the rover will study the properties of lunar soil, the petrography and geology of the moon, dust movement, and the moon's surface plasma conditions.