Uncertainty Surrounds UAE’s Rashid Rover Landing as Ground Team Loses Contact

Rashid Rover
Rashid Rover

The Rashid Rover of the UAE was away from landing on the Moon for a few minutes when the control team lost contact with the spacecraft it was traveling in Hakuto Mission 1 Lunar lander- carrying the Emirati-made rover, was presumed to land on the surface of the Moon at 8.40 pm (UAE time). The Japan-based startup ispace said its control center in Nihonbashi, Tokyo,” has not been able to prove the success of the lunar lander.” 

The company stated, “Now, mission operations specialists and space engineers in the Mission Control Centre are working to verify the current status of the lander. Further information on the lander’s status will be declared as it becomes available”. 

Did you know these missions have a success rate of only 50%?

Landing a rover on the Moon is challenging for many reasons, including gravity, lack of atmosphere, communication, and regolith. 

Only 50 percent of lunar landings succeed. 

Below are some factors that make the mission extra challenging 

  • The Moon is about one-sixth of Earth’s gravity, making it difficult to land and control spacecraft’s movements.
  • The lack of atmosphere on the Moon makes it difficult to slow down the spacecraft during descent. 
  • The surface of the Moon is covered in a layer of fine dust called regolith, which can be deep in some areas.
  • There is also the challenge of communicating with the spacecraft. 

During the landing process. 

Here is how the landing is unfolded 

9.32 pm: Can’t confirm successful landing 

9.20 pm: What ispace says 

Espace founder Hakamada explained the circumstances with a deserted look saying their engineers continue to investigate.

9.10 pm: No contact with Lander 

Japan-based space has lost contact with its lander carrying the UAE’s Rashid Rover. 

9.05 pm: Anxiety peaks out 

Here is the scene inside the ground control station at MBRS, where teams continue to wait for a signal.

9.02 pm: Tension builds up 

According to the planned landing arrangement, the lander should have touched the Moon by now. However, its status is still being investigated, which builds tension as ground teams wait for updates. 

8.58 pm: Still waiting 

8.36 pm: First glimpse of the Moon 

As the lander gets closer. To the surface, it showed Earth its first glimpse of the Moon’s craters. 

8.31 pm: Land reappears 

8.22 pm: Last few minutes!

In around 10 minutes- braking burn should begin 

 The altitude is approaching the 25km mark from the surface. 

8.17 pm: By the way, where EXACTLY will the lunar rover land?

8.08 pm: Cruise landing phase begins 

The lander is now in the second phase, the ‘ Cruise Landing Phase’- where the lander’s altitude drops from 100 km to 25km.

8.05 pm: Location check; where is the rover now?

The lander carrying the Rashid Rover is currently on the rear side of the Moon. 

7.48 pm: One hour to go 

Salem AlMarri, director-general of Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre(MBRSC), tweets a countdown to the last 60 minutes before the UAE arrives on the Moon.

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