The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) of the United Arab Emirates has announced that the Rashid Rover is set to land on the Moon on April 25th, 2023, at 8:40 PM (UAE time). The rover is currently onboard the HAKUTO-R Mission 1 Lunar Lander, which is orbiting the Moon at an altitude of about 100 km at perilune and about 2,300 km at apolune. The actual landing date is subject to change, depending on operational conditions.
On the day of the landing, the lander carrying the Rashid Rover will perform multiple orbital control maneuvers to reach a 100 km circular orbit around the Moon before initiating the landing sequence. The lander will perform a braking burn, firing its main propulsion system to decelerate from orbit. Using a series of pre-set commands, the lander will adjust its altitude and reduce velocity to make a soft landing on the confirmed site of Atlas Crater in the Mare Frigoris. The ELM team will complete close to a total of 370 minutes of communication with the world’s most compact rover before landing, along with 12 mission rehearsals for surface operations.
The UAE’s Emirates Lunar Mission, which is funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), is aimed at supporting research and development in the ICT sector in the UAE. The HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lunar lander that holds the Rashid Rover will complete all planned lunar orbital control manoeuvres before the landing sequence, as well as confirm that the lander is ready to start the landing sequence. Three alternative landing sites have also been scheduled in case of any changes in operational conditions, with the next landing opportunities set for April 26th, May 1st, and May 3rd.
Named after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Rashid Rover will conduct surface exploration and collect data to enhance the understanding of the Moon’s geology and its evolutionary history. Equipped with a high-resolution camera, a mass spectrometer, and a laser-induced breakdown spectroscope, among other instruments, the rover will gather data on the Moon’s mineralogical composition and surface characteristics. The mission is part of the UAE’s efforts to contribute to the global space industry and establish its position as a leader in the sector.