The United Arab Emirates has signed an agreement with China on a future moon mission

The United Arab Emirates has signed an agreement with China on a future moon mission

On 16 September, the United Arab Emirates signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CNSA, an unofficially known as the China Space Agency, in which it signed an agreement between Salem Humaid Al-Marri, director of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, and Wu Yanhua, deputy administrator of CNSA. The agreement provides for cooperation in a future lunar mission, during which the Emirate Rover will be on board the Chinese landing platform.

This is the first major cooperation in the development of the Moon, even if only in intentions, of a country that signed the Artemis Agreements, and the United Arab Emirates was among the first to sign those agreements, among the first eight countries to do so at the end of 2020.

The Artemis Agreements do not prohibit any cooperation in the development of the Moon with non-signatory countries, but in a sense they oblige the UAE to comply with them, but not China, of course. The Agreement signed between the two countries provides that a small lunar, weighing about 10 kg, will be placed on board the Chinese landing vehicle. No further details on specific dates or missions have been reported.

Wu Yanhua, Deputy Administrator of CNSA, was to participate in a discussion with the administrators of major national and international space agencies at IAC 2022 in Paris on Sunday. Last night, the presentation of the conference was changed to exclude Wu Yanhua from the guest list.

Current status of China and the Emirates in the exploration of the Moon

At present, in the United Arab Emirates, the moonship is ready for launch; the moonship, called Rashid, will be launched to the Moon on board the Japanese Hakuro-R machine. The launch of this mission is scheduled for the end of 2022. In addition, the moonship with the participation of China will be a later project that has not yet been announced, but at least it makes it clear that the UAE is already planning to study the moon for the next few years.

The next Chinese mission to our satellite will be "Chan & 6", part of the same name program. The mission will try to collect samples and return them to Earth, but this time it will do so on the South Pole of the Moon. It is scheduled for 2024, and it will be the first mission to be part of the International Moon Research Station in the future. This lunar station is a joint programme of research on the Moon between China and Russia. On the other hand, "Chan & 7", also scheduled for 2024, will attempt to land on the Moon, extract samples, and transport them to the surface of the Moon and all this again on the South Pole.