The first UAE-built rover and Japanese lander has been launched to the moon by SpaceX
The first UAE-built rover and Japanese lander has been launched to the moon by SpaceX

The first UAE-built rover and Japanese lander has been launched to the moon by SpaceX

11 december, 20222 minutes to read
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Two more countries will join the moon club soon at once.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Sunday morning at 2:38 a.m. EST. It took to space the first private Japanese moon lander HAKUTO-R carrying a United Arab Emirates rover on board and a NASA tiny satellite.

The 10 kilograms (22 pounds) robot is called 'Rashid' and it is the first-ever moon rover for UAE. After deploying from Hakuto-R, Rashid will take photos with a bunch of cameras and characterize the moon's curios electrically charged surface environment. The whole mission is expected to last one lunar day, which equals 14 Earth days.

The first UAE moon rover called 'Rashid'

It would be a huge achievement for UAE, Japan, and the private space industry. Before the mission, only state-owned space agencies of the United States, the Soviet Union, and China have soft landings on the lunar surface.

This is the first mission for Tokyo-based company ispace. If all goes as planned, Hakuto-R will make a soft lunar landing next spring. It'll mark the first time Japan made an interplanetary landing.

As ispace founder and CEO told Space.com last month, the mission will be opening a door for the "commercial cislunar industry".
Japan HAKUTO-R moon lander

Eight minutes after launch the first stage of SpaceX Falcon 9 came back for a landing at Cape Canaveral. At the same time rocket's upper stage successfully deployed Hakuto-R and then ejected a tiny NASA moon probe called Lunar Flashlight.

That's a CubeSat type of probe – it has the size of a briefcase and will also make its way to the moon. It would help NASA with the Artemis program to establish a sustainable human presence on and around the moon. Lunar Flashlight will hunt for water ice in shadowed craters near the moon's south pole. The probe will flashlight the moon – shining lasers into dark craters to look  for signs of water ice covered by lunar regolith.

The moon satellite Lunar Flashlight / NASA
11 december, 2022
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