L'atterrisseur Hakuto-R

Two countries other than the United States, Russia or China will soon touch the surface of the Moon using spacecraft. These are the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Japan. The first will send a small rover there while the second will provide the lander.

According to the information, the Japanese Hakuto-R lander and UAE’s Rashid 1 rover are scheduled to take off on November 9 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. They will be launched by a rocket SpaceX’s Falcon 9.

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The lander and the rover will follow a route that will save energy. This means that the journey will be quite long since the landing on the lunar surface is scheduled to take place in March 2023, i.e. 5 months after launch. The planned landing area is called Lacus Somnioruma mid-latitude basalt plain.

The Rashid 1 rover

The UAE’s Rashid 1 rover was developed by the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Center which is located in Dubai. It weighs about 10 kg and will be the smallest rover to land on the Moon. The small device, which measures 53cm by 53cm, is expected to work for a single lunar day.

The Rashid 1 four-wheeled rover will be solar-powered and will have on board several scientific instruments. It will carry two high-resolution cameras, a thermal imager, a microscopic imager, as well as a device to study the electrically charged environment of the lunar surface.

The Hakuto-R Lander

The UAE does not yet have a lander capable of landing on the Moon. That’s why they called on the japanese company ispace. The latter is thus in charge of providing the means to land the rover.

This mission using the Hakuto-R lander will be ispace’s first mission. Its objective will also be to demonstrate the company’s technology capabilities. Apart from transporting the Rashid 1 rover, Hakuto-R will also provide lunar transport or lunar data acquisition services for three Canadian companies. It will also take with it other payloads including a two-wheeled micro-rover from JAXA or Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Currently, ispace is already preparing its 2th mission scheduled to leave in 2024 and its 3th mission which will be launched in 2025 with a second generation lander.

As for Japan, Hakuto-R might not be the country’s first lander to reach the Moon. Indeed, the mission NASA’s Artemis 1 carries on board 10 secondary loads, one of which is a small JAXA lander weighing 14 kg. This lander will attempt a controlled descent to the surface of the Moon.

On the UAE side, the country is also working with China to send the rover Rashid 2 on the Moon as part of the Chinese mission Chang’e 7 scheduled to leave in 2026.

SOURCE: Space.com

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