Emirates Lunar Mission

The Emirates Lunar Mission is part of the new 2021-2031 strategy launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, MBRSC, which includes the development and launch of the first Emirati lunar rover named “Rashid”, after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, builder of modern Dubai.
The explorer is being designed and built in the UAE by a 100 percent Emirati team of engineers, experts, and researchers. If successful, the UAE will become the first Arab country and among the first countries in the world to land on the lunar surface after the United States, Soviet Union, and China.
MBRSC has signed a contract with Japan’s ispace, inc. (ispace), under which the latter will provide payload delivery services for the ambitious Emirates Lunar Mission.
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.
During its mission, the Lunar Rover will conduct numerous scientific tests on the surface of the Moon that will contribute to making qualitative developments in the fields of science, communication technologies, and robotics. Furthermore, the impact of these developments will extend beyond the space sector and into various vital sectors in the national and global economy.
The flight model of the Rashid rover is now ready after undergoing several tests including those completed in the desert and preparations continue for the launch day in the 4th quarter of 2022.

Based on the analysis of the scientific and engineering data requirements, MBRSC has designed a science package consisting of a set of lightweight but powerful instruments that will be onboard the Rashid rover. These instruments will enable the rover to measure a carefully selected set of environmental conditions on the lunar surface. The demanding sensitivities of the instruments combined with the necessity of optimising between the rover and science instrument requirements resulted in the establishment of an international team of researchers, under the leadership of MBRSC.

MBRSC has partnered with French space agency, CNES to provide two optical cameras (CASPEX) for the Rashid rover, which will provide high resolution images in full HD. The CASPEX camera on-top of the rover’s mast will provide panoramic visibility of the rover surroundings while the rear mounted CASPEX camera will deliver images of the lunar soil with high spatial resolution. The latter’s images of the drive tracks will be analysed to determine wheel sinkage and to investigate the detailed wheel-soil interaction. Such data will be important to design the mobility systems of future rovers.

MBRSC has partnered with the Center for Petrographic and Geochemical Research at Universite de Lorraine in Nancy (France) to work on the characterisation of the conditions at the landing sites and analysis of the data from the rover’s microscopic imager. This microscopic imager, which was conceptualised by MBRSC, will obtain the highest resolution image from the lunar surface thus far and provide an unprecedented view of the undisturbed topmost layer of the lunar regolith. It is this upper layer which will show the imprint of the formation and evolution of the lunar surface at its smallest scales.

Through a collaboration with the University of Oslo in Norway, the team is developing the Langmuir probes that will study the plasma around the Moon. The data will help the scientific community to understand how charged particles interact with the lunar surface. It is thought that this interaction can lift dust particles and carry them for certain distances.

From the UAE, a team at New York University Abu Dhabi will work on the microscopic camera calibration, as well as on investigating the interaction of the rover’s surface materials with the solar radiation. The latter is of great importance to interpret the measurements of the plasma sheath.

ELM Science Objectives

Fundamental science


  • Surface soil properties
  • Altering processes
  • Earth-Moon system

Plasma environment and soil interaction

  • Photo-electron sheath
  • Surface charge
  • Dust transport

Engineering science and enabling technologies


  • Material in-situ testing for future mission


  • Surface transportation
  • Mission operations and planning

Rashid Rover Design and Dimensions

Mass10 KG
Dimensions (mm)H(stowed)=484.9/ L=535/ W=538.5
CamerasCAM-1 and CAM-2
ScienceCAM-M, CAM-T, LNG and MAD
NavigationIMU, encoders, cameras, etc.
Mobility•        Four wheeled with differential gear

•        Maximum speed at 10 cm/s

•        Obstacle Height = 10 cm

•        Slope = 20 degrees

ElectronicsCubeSat Standard Bus with CAN
CommunicationsCOM-P and COM-S

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