The UAE is about to get the perfect gift for Eid-Al Fitr., as its Rashid rover is about to land on the Moon soon after celebrating the four-day holiday of the Islamic festival.
Tuesday, April 25, is the scheduled landing date for the HAKUTO – R Mission -1 Lunar Lander, carrying Rashid Rover to the lunar surface.
Japan-based ispace announced that the landing is anticipated at 4.40 pm (UTC), around 8.40 pm UAE time. As on April 12, 2023, the Mission 1 Lander is orbiting around the Moon in an elliptical orbit at an altitude between 100 km and 2,300 km.
There are three alternative landing sites depending on which the landing dates may change. Hence, the alternative landing dates, according to the operational status, are
- May-1 and,
- May -3
The lander entered the lunar orbit last month, and after the intersection into the rotation, the onboard camera snapped and sent back images of its destination -The Moon.
According to ispace, this image was captured on March 26 from an altitude of around 2,000km from the Moon, and the picture shows the eastern rim of the Moon and craters Petavius, Vendelinus, and Langrenus.
Takeshi Hakamada, founder and CEO of i space, declared, “To all the supporters and everyone looking forward to the day when we will land on the Moon, I am pleased to declare the landing date of Mission 1.”
He added, “Whatever we have accomplished so far is already a great achievement, and we are already applying lessons learned from this flight to our future missions. He expressed gratitude and thanked everyone who worked hard on this mission, including the engineers, who have been carrying out long-term operations since the launch break in December. The stage is set, and I look forward to witnessing this historic day, marking the beginning of a new era of commercial lunar missions”.
Named after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the former Ruler of Dubai, the UAE-made Rashid Rover is the first lunar spacecraft built by an Arab country.
What happens after landing?
Rashid Rover is now on its way to completing its third milestone (entry, descent and landing).
This will be the most intense, as the lender must land on the lunar surface at a specific spot on the Moon.
The next is the Development, Commissioning and Drive- off phase. The Rashid Rover will conduct continuous surface research and image capture for 10-12 days. Following that, it is in a Nominal Surface Operations phase.
The final two phases after the lunar day are hibernation and decommissioning when the rover prepares for the lunar night. However, the mission will be extended if the rover is activated after the lunar night.