The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed a contract this morning (14 April) with Japan’s ispace, inc (ispace), under which the latter will provide payload delivery services for the ambitious Emirates Lunar Mission.
Under the agreement, ispace becomes a key strategic and implementation partner to MBRSC on the Emirates Lunar Mission, the first of its kind from the Arab world.
The ‘Rashid’ rover will be transported to the Moon on ispace’s lunar lander during the company’s ‘Mission 1’ in 2022 as part of its commercial programme known as ‘HAKUTO-R’.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Japanese lunar exploration company will deliver the Emirates Lunar Mission’s ‘Rashid’ rover to the Moon, provide wired communication and power during the cruise phase, and engage in wireless communication on the lunar surface.
The project is a key part of the UAE’s space exploration strategy, which is centred around building new knowledge capabilities, inspiring future generations to pursue space science and research, and fostering global collaboration.
If the mission is completed successfully, the UAE and Japan will together become the next two nations to successfully put a spacecraft on the lunar surface, following the United States, Russia and China.
At a press conference in UAE on Wednesday morning, MBRSC said it had carried out a thorough consideration of competing lunar payload delivery service providers and had selected ispace based on the company’s technological credibility.
H E Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani, Director-General of MBRSC, said: “MBRSC’s commitment towards space research and development has garnered the attention of the world through our various projects. We are now leveraging our advanced scientific and technological hub by partnering with international entities that will aid in creating a new space economy landscape in the country.
“Our mission through scientific endeavours such as the Emirates Lunar Mission is to keep the UAE flag flying high and be at the forefront of countries contributing to scientific achievements that will change the future for humanity.”
Adnan AlRais, Mars 2117 Programme Manager and Senior Director of MBRSC’s Remote Sensing Department, said: “Our association with Japan’s ispace is in line with the MBRSC’s ambitious vision of growing a vibrant and sustainable space ecosystem through collaborations and partnerships.
“The Emirates Lunar Mission represents a milestone in the UAE’s space sector as the mission will contribute towards providing valuable data and information relating to the Moon that will serve the global scientific community as well as test capabilities that would be crucial for manned missions to Mars.”