Japanese lunar exploration firm iSpace will collaborate with the UAE in taking a rover to the moon next year.
According to Reuters, the Rashid lunar rover will be built entirely by the Emirates, who had originally intended to launch it into space by 2024. The launch next year will be the company’s first mission of its kind and will involve the use of a Falcon 9 rocket from Elon Musk’s SpaceX, to be launched from Florida.
Under the agreement, iSpace said today that it would also provide the Emirates Lunar Mission with wired communication and power during the cruise phase and wireless communication on the moon.
The Gulf state is looking to expand into the space exploration business as it attempts to diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on oil.
In February, the UAE became the first Arab country to launch a successful interplanetary mission, following the “Hope” probe into Mars’ orbit. The mission launched from Japan on a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA rocket.
The nation gave me unforgettable moments today. I aim to work hard to script historical moments and achievements that will be etched forever in the memory of our people.
I thank our wise leadership and the team of the UAE Astronaut Programme. Preparations and work begin now.
— Nora AlMatrooshi (@Astronaut_Nora) April 10, 2021
The UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) has a long-term goal of sending astronauts to Mars and developing a human settlement there. Earlier this week, the MBRSC announced that it had selected the UAE’s first female astronaut, Noura Al-Matroushi, as one of two new astronauts to be sent for future space exploration missions.