Arab News Japan
Dubai’s Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has announced the launch of Rashid 2, a new lunar mission by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).
The initiation of the new mission succeeded a declaration issued by Japan’s ispace Inc., positing a significant probability of the Hakuto-R Mission 1 spacecraft, carrying the UAE’s Rashid rover, undergoing a crash during an attempted lunar landing.
The announcement was made during a visit to the MBRSC, where Sheikh Mohammed met with the national team of the Emirates Lunar Mission (ELM), who are behind the United Arab Emirates’ first attempt to land a rover on the lunar surface.
Despite the unsuccessful attempt of landing Rashid Rover, Sheikh Mohammed underscored the paramountcy of perseverance towards achieving success in the space industry and affirmed the UAE’s commitment to pursue new frontiers in space exploration. He remarked that though the attempt to land the Rashid Rover on the moon was unsuccessful, “we kept our aspirations high.”
“Emiratis have proved their ability to develop advanced space projects and rapidly create a vibrant national space sector,” Sheikh Mohammed said, according to state news agency WAM.
“The UAE built a space sector from scratch within just 10 years. The Rashid Rover mission was driven by the country’s ambitious vision for space exploration,” he added.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, also stressed that any space mission has to contend with high levels of risk, which it manages in a scientific and systematic way to advance exploration and experimentation.
Citing the UAE’s readiness to embark on a new frontier in space exploration, he said, “Today, under the directives and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, we announce the launch of the Rashid 2 project, a new Emirati attempt to reach the moon.”
The Rashid 2 project marks a new attempt by the UAE to reach the moon, and comes after MBRSC successfully realized its ambitious objective of creating the world’s most compact rover and accomplishing the unprecedented feat of deploying the first Emirati and Arab rover into lunar orbit through the ELM, preceding the landing attempt onboard iSpace’s HAKUTO-R lander.
Integrated into iSpace’s HAKUTO-R lander, the Rashid Rover successfully lifted off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on December 11, 2022. The MBRSC partnered with 10 international and four UAE-based entities for the ELM’s science programme, and around 40 scientists and researchers were involved in developing the main instruments onboard the Rashid Rover. The compact rover weighs around 10 kilograms and is approximately 80 centimetres high, 53.5 centimetres long, and close to 53.85 centimetres wide.
The Rashid 2 project serves as the latest testament to the country’s growing capabilities, and represents the UAE’s unwavering dedication to propelling space exploration forward, as it takes another giant leap towards the final frontier.