Rashid Rover lifts off on board a Space X Falcon 9 rocket

The UAE-built Rashid Rover, the first Emirati mission to the surface of the Moon, lifted off on board a Space X Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, US, at 11.38am UAE time Sunday.

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With this successful launch, the UAE has become the first Arab country and the fourth country in the world to land on the lunar surface after the United States, Soviet Union, and China, UAE national news agency WAM reported.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) said once launched, the integrated spacecraft will take a low-energy route to the moon rather than a direct approach, which means the landing will take about five months after launch, in April 2023.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, emphasised that the UAE’s space ambitions continue to be realised by achieving high levels of accomplishment and empowering space cadres to develop the national space sector and consolidate the country’s advanced position in space.

While witnessing the launch of the Rashid Rover from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre’s (MBRSC) Mission Control Centre, Sheikh Mohammed commented: “A new stopover for our nation... A new stopover for our cadres and the youth... A new stopover leading to our journey to explore the Moon.

“Rashid Rover is part of the UAE’s ambitious space program, which began with Mars, progressed to the Moon, and soon to Venus. Our goal is to increase our knowledge, enhance our capabilities, and leave a scientific legacy in the history of space and humanity,” HH added.

“Reaching the Moon is a milestone in our ambitious march to progress for our nation and its people, who know no limits. And our next step is bigger and higher,” HH further stressed.

Rashid Rover will now cruise through space for nearly four months, aiming to land in the Moon’s Atlas Crater in April 2023.