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Towards A Moon Mission: China-UAE Partnership

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China have decided to collaborate in assisting the former’s space ambition of landing its first rover on the moon. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) for future exploration of the moon mission. The MoU marks the first collaborative space project between the two nations.

The Importance of the Moon Mission

Spacefaring is a very prestigious and appreciative activity for every country in the world. It was a closed community where all the missions were ascribed to a selected group of nations. However, with the coming of the 21st century, things started to change, and this close-knitted community-acquired some new entrants. Among them, the UAE falls under this category of relatively new entrants. The Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), which was established in 2006, is responsible for developing the national space program of the UAE. The UAE’s spacefaring credentials will be further enhanced by this partnership with China.

UAE’s MoU with China 

The UAE is planning to become an important space player. In this collaboration, China is involved in “the landing of an MBRSC rover aboard a CNSR lander”.  Under the project, the UAE will create a rover dubbed Rashid-2 and be helped by China in the process of landing, data transmission, observation, and control. It is planned to launch its first moon mission in November 2022. The Director General of MBRSC, Mr. Salim Humaid Al Marri, and the deputy director of CNSA, Mr. Wu Yanhua, signed the MoU.

The Reason Behind the UAE’s Cooperation with China 

China is a success story in its lunar missions. The nation has launched three successful lunar missions in the last three decades. It was Chang’e 3, Chang’e 4, and Chang’e 5, respectively. In the year 2005, Chang’e 5 brought samples back from the moon to earth. These successful missions influenced the UAE to develop a partnership with China.

Active Space Program of the UAE

The UAE is trying to be proactive in its mission toward a space push. In the year 2020, the Emirates Space Mission was launched, under which an orbiter named Hope was sent to Mars. As part of the lunar mission, the Rashid rover by MBRSC will be delivered to the moon’s surface aboard the HAKUTO-R lander, developed by Japanese company ispace. A mission to the asteroid belt is also being developed by MBRSC.

The UAE is working with SpaceX to send astronauts to the ISS. The first astronaut that was sent by the UAE to the International Space Station (ISS) was Hazza Al Mansouri, in 2019. Another UAE astronaut named Sultan El Neyadi is ready to go to the ISS aboard SpaceX’s crew six-mission for NASA. He is planning to stay in the orbiting lab for six months. These shreds of evidence show the proactiveness of the UAE in achieving its credentials in the domain of space.