The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Syed Shayaan Bakht, Staff Reporter
At 11:38 am UAE time, just before noon on Sunday, the Rashid Rover blasted off to the moon, from Complex No. 40 of Cape Canaveral Space Base, Florida, in the United States of America, aboard the "Falcon 9" rocket inside the Japanese lander "HAKUTO-R."
Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Maktoum visited the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre to follow up on the launch of Rashid Rover, the first Arab mission to the surface of the moon.
According to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, the Rashid Rover will land on the surface of the moon in April of next year 2023, in the Atlas crater, located at 47.5 degrees north and 44.4 degrees east, on the outer southeastern edge of the Mare Frigoris region, or what is known as “Sea of Cold,” located in the far north of the moon, which was chosen in order to maintain flexibility during the completion of mission operations.
On the surface of the moon, where the landing stage is considered the most difficult during the mission, as the vehicle lands on the surface of the moon with its difficult terrain, the mechanical arms are extended, which makes the explorer ready to launch, and conduct a series of experiments, which provide data, that help us understand the physical phenomena on the surface.
The explorer is scheduled to work for one lunar day (14 Earth days) on the moon.
The launch window began at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral US base last November, and extends to March next year 2023, and the launch window is the period of time for a special vehicle, such as space shuttles, in which it must launch, in order to reach the target. Mission to the lunar surface, and if the mission does not launch within this time period, it must wait until the next window.
The most important reason for the correct timing of the launch of the spacecraft is the lack of a straight path in spaceflight, especially since all the planets move around the sun in a long and curved path, and it takes the form of circular and elliptical orbits.
As flights that are based on Earth’s orbits to a large extent do not require a specific time to launch, but if the spacecraft is on a rendezvous with another vehicle already in orbit, the launch must be carefully timed.
The centre said that the launch stage and the low orbit, in which the explorer will be in a “stopped” state, is one of the most important stages of the mission, in which the spacecraft operations engineers will take control after its separation from the launch vehicle until the vehicle is safely placed in its last lunar orbit.
Meanwhile, the ground station will operate 24 hours a day to operate, monitor and control the various subsystems of the spacecraft, including landing any attachments such as: antennas, solar array, reflector, etc., and handling precise maneuvers to control the orbit and direction of the rocket.
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The centre stated that the stage of entry, descent and intensive landing constitutes a dangerous stage, especially since the HAKUTO-R lander, which was developed by the Japanese company "iSpace", will carry out the landing operation itself on the surface of the moon, as the lander does it by relying on its own computers by calculating how to launch the rocket in such a way that it maintains its trajectory until it reaches the specified point on the surface of the moon, without being deflected by the possibility of rocks or craters.
The centre stated that as soon as the "HAKUTO-R" vehicle lands on the surface of the moon, the landing and operation phase begins within a period of 4 hours, followed by the completion of the post-landing inspection process, the operation of equipment, and the start of preliminary data collection.
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