The Japanese lunar lander Hakuto-R, that is carrying UAE-made Rashid Rover to the Moon, has “successfully completed all deep space orbital control manoeuvres before lunar orbital insertion (LOI), Japanese maker ispace has announced on Saturday.

Hakuto-R completed its fourth manoeuvre on Friday. “The lander is currently in a stable attitude on its trajectory to the Moon. Final preparations are now underway for the first LOI manoeuvre, which means that the lander will enter the lunar gravity region and orbit around the Moon,” added ispace.

“Preparations for the first LOI maneuver are now in progress,” noted ispace, adding: “The next announcement is expected upon successful completion of the LOI maneuver, which means that the lander will enter the lunar gravity region and orbit around the Moon.”

Landing is the most critical part of the lunar mission, with several missions having failed before, including that of India and Israel.

Hakuto-R was successfully launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on December 11, 2022 from Cape Canaveral. It completed its first orbit control manoeuvre in the same month, followed by a second orbital control manoeuvre in January. The lander also conducted successful manoeuvres last month.

Rover’s mission

Rashid Rover is the first lunar rover built by an Arab country. Named after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, former Ruler of Dubai, the UAE-made lunar rover will study the Moon’s surroundings for one lunar day, which is equivalent to 14.75 days on Earth.

Rashid Rover has four cameras, including a microscopic and a thermal imaging camera, equipped to study the soil, dust, radioactive and electrical activities, and rocks on the Moon’s surface. It will perform numerous scientific experiments to measure the effectiveness of some materials on the lunar surface, such as the efficiency of adhesion of the rover wheels to the lunar surface, and explore the process of overcoming natural obstacles on the Moon.

Rashid Rover is expected to land on the lunar surface by end of April this year.

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