UAE Moon mission: Floor crew loses contact with spacecraft carrying Rashid Rover; touchdown can’t be confirmed

UAE Moon mission: Ground team loses contact with spacecraft carrying Rashid Rover;  landing cannot be confirmed

The engineers and mission operations specialists are at the moment working to substantiate the present standing of the lander

To know extra…

By Sahim Salim, Nandini Sircar, Kirstin Bernabe

Printed: Tue, April 25, 2023, 7:05 pm

Final replace: Tue 25 April 2023, 10.30pm

[Editor’s Note: This blog is now closed. Follow Khaleej Times for a more comprehensive report on the UAE’s Moon-landing attempt.]

The UAE’s Rashid Rover was minutes away from touchdown on the moon when the bottom management crew misplaced contact with the spacecraft it was travelling.

The Hakuto Mission 1 lunar lander carrying the Emirati-made rover was as a consequence of land on the floor of the Moon at 20:40 (UAE time). Nonetheless, Japanese startup ispace mentioned its management middle in Nihonbashi, Tokyo “has been unable to substantiate the success of the lunar lander”.

Communications ceased because the lander descended the final 33 ft (10 meters), touring at roughly 16 mph (25 km/h). The air site visitors controllers scanned their screens in Tokyo, expressionless, because the minutes handed with no information from the lander.

“Now, iSpace engineers and mission operations specialists within the Mission Management Middle are at the moment working to substantiate the present standing of the lander. Extra info on the standing of the lander will probably be introduced because it turns into accessible,” the corporate mentioned.

Do you know that these missions have successful price of solely 50%?

Touchdown a rover on the moon isn’t any cakewalk. It’s a very difficult job as a consequence of a number of causes together with gravity, lack of ambiance, regolith and communication.

Actually, solely 50% of moon landings are profitable.

Listed here are some elements that make these missions much more difficult:

  • The moon’s gravity is about one-sixth of Earth’s gravity, which makes touchdown and controlling spacecraft actions tough.
  • The moon’s lack of ambiance makes it tough to gradual the spacecraft throughout its descent.
  • The floor of the moon is roofed in a layer of superb mud referred to as regolith, which might attain a number of meters deep in some areas. This mud could be tough to navigate and might pose a threat to the spacecraft’s engines and touchdown gear.
  • There’s additionally the problem of speaking with the spacecraft throughout the touchdown course of. The sign takes about 1.28 seconds to journey from the moon to Earth, which suggests there’s a communication delay. This delay could make it tough to make real-time modifications to the spacecraft’s trajectory throughout the touchdown course of.

All these elements make the lunar touchdown a posh and tough job that requires cautious planning, exact engineering and expert execution.

This is how the touchdown try unfolded:

21:32: “Failed to substantiate profitable touchdown”

Dubai MBRSC releases assertion on standing of Luna mission:

ispace founder Hakamada defined the circumstances with a dejected look, saying their engineers are persevering with to analyze.

In Tokyo, controllers stared blankly at their screens as minutes handed with out the lander receiving any information.

“At present, now we have not confirmed a communication with the lander. We are able to affirm that we established communication till the tip of the touchdown. Nonetheless, now we have now misplaced communication. Thus, we should assume that we failed to finish the lunar floor touchdown Our engineers proceed to analyze the state of affairs and we are going to replace you with extra info as soon as the investigation is full,” Hakamada mentioned.

2110: No contact with the lander

Japan-based Ispace has misplaced contact with its lander carrying the UAE’s Rashid Rover.

“We’ve to imagine that we failed to finish the touchdown,” says Takeshi Hakamada, founder and CEO of ispace. Nonetheless, we’re persevering with to analyze.

The air site visitors controllers scanned their screens in Tokyo, expressionless, as minutes handed with out the lander listening to any information.

Here’s a tweet from the MBRSC:

Right here is the scene inside the bottom management station on the MBRSC, the place groups proceed to attend for a sign

21:02: Tensions rise

In line with the deliberate touchdown sequence, the lander ought to have already landed on the Moon. Nonetheless, his standing remains to be being investigated. Stress builds as floor crews proceed to attend for updates.

The standing of the lander remains to be underneath investigation. Floor crews proceed to attend.

20:36: First glimpse of the Moon!

Because the lander bought nearer to the floor, it confirmed Earth its first glimpse of lunar craters.

The lander carrying Rashid Rover has reappeared. The UAE is now minutes away from touchdown on the moon.

The braking section begins. It’s at an altitude of 25km.

Here’s a abstract of what’s going to occur earlier than TOUCHDOWN is formally declared:

  • Touchdown section of the cruise (now in progress) | Pace: 6,000km/h / Altitude: 25km
  • Burn section underneath braking | Pace: 380km/h / Altitude: 3km
  • Launch Section | Pace: 120km/h/ Altitude: 1km
  • Terminal Descent | Pace: 17km/h / Altitude 20m
  • Touchdown!

20:22: Final minutes!

In about 10 minutes the brake burn ought to begin. The altitude is getting near reaching 25 km from the floor.

8:17 PM: By the best way, the place EXACTLY will the lunar rover land?

Rashid Rover will set foot (or fairly its wheels) on Moons Atlas crater, on the outer rim of Mare Frigoris (Sea of ​​Chilly).

This is a pleasant map shared by the Dubai Media Workplace:

Why right here? The positioning meets the technical specs of the lander’s expertise demonstration mission and science exploration aims for the Emirates lunar mission. Additionally, different earlier missions like Apollo 15 and 17 have landed efficiently right here. It is a confirmed path.

Take a look at the markings on this Nasa map:

20:08: The disembarkation section of the cruise begins

The lander is now within the second section referred to as the Cruise Touchdown Section, the place the lander’s altitude drops from 100km to 25km.

At this stage, the velocity does not change a lot. This section, the longest of the mission, lasts between 40 and 50 minutes, your complete sequence lasting one hour and 7 minutes.

20:05: Place examine, the place is the rover now?

The lander carrying the Rashid Rover is at the moment on the again aspect of the Moon. Engineers are ready to re-establish communication with the bottom station and reappear from the rear aspect to lastly land on the sunny aspect of the Moon.

7.58pm: Touchdown sequence in a nutshell

At present in orbit across the Moon aboard the Hakuto-R Mission 1 Lunar Lander, the

Rashid Rover is anticipated to succeed in the lunar floor in 40 minutes.

You’ll put together for this five-step touchdown sequence:

Salem AlMarri, director normal of the Dubai Mohammed Bin Rashid House Middle (MBRSC), tweets a countdown to the final 60 minutes earlier than the UAE lands on the Moon:

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