Tokyo-based company ispace plans to launch the Hakuto-R lunar lander on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on November 28.
After landing, the Hakuto-R will put a rover from the United Arab Emirates called Rashid on the moon. The four-wheel rover will study the Moon for 14 Earth days using a high-resolution camera, a thermal imager, a microscopic device and a probe designed to study electrical charges on the lunar surface.
Atlas Crater, which is in the northeast quadrant of the moon near Mare Frigoris ("Sea of Cold"), was chosen as a landing site for Hakuto-R due to "maintaining flexibility during operations", ispace said, but the company did not give many specific details, other than that the location allows for "multiple contingencies" during the long transit phase of the mission.
The Rashid rover was built by a small team of Emiratis at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai. Emirati engineers are in Florida to make final preparations for the launch.
The lunar vehicle is expected to arrive at the moon no earlier than April 2023.
It is an important mission for the UAE, Japan and private industry, as ispace could be the first company to successfully undertake a commercial cargo mission to the moon.
Our first mission will lay the groundwork for unleashing the moon's potential and transforming it into a robust and vibrant economic system,
Takeshi Hakamada, founder and CEO of ispace, said.