CNES Chairman & CEO Philippe Baptiste and Yousuf Al Shaibani, Director General of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), held recently a virtual meeting to discuss areas on which CNES and MBRSC are working together. The two agencies announced their intention to cooperate on the Emirates Lunar Rover (ELR) mission to develop and operate a rover to explore the surface of the Moon and collect science data.
The ELR mission is planned for launch in the second half of 2022. Its main goals are to:
⦁ Demonstrate robotics technology on the surface of the moon
⦁ Generate unique and beneficial science data that will contribute to future exploration missions
⦁ Demonstrate a technology to attempt to survive the lunar night
Under this new French-Emirati cooperation initiative, CNES will provide MBRSC with CASPEX cameras. These cameras will provide very high resolution images in Full HD. This is the first French experiment sent to the Moon in 50 years.
French scientists will be involved in analysing data during the mission execution phase, as well as in post-mission analysis. Images acquired by the rover’s cameras and data from the navigation system will also be shared. They will be involved in the choice of the landing site too.
Philippe Baptiste, Chairman and CEO, CNES, said: “I am glad to add today a new milestone and a new destination to the longstanding partnership between France and the UAE. With MBRSC we have developed a fruitful and mutually beneficial cooperation. It will allow us not only to take French technology to the Moon and bring back data for our scientists but most and foremost to strengthen the relations between our respective technology and scientific ecosystems.”
Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani, Director-General, MBRSC, said: “The UAE aims to lead an innovative and sustainable exploration of the Moon through the Emirates Lunar Mission. Our partnership with CNES is a continuation of the already great collaborative effort with France and we will continue to strengthen it further. We believe that collaboration is the way forward for space exploration, and the more we work together to tackle challenges for the good of humanity, the greater our collective prospects for the future.”