Reaffirming the strides made by UAE in space exploration, Spacebit ‘Spider Moon Rover’, the smallest robotic moon rover in the world with legs, not wheels, has confirmed that the UAE will be an official testing location for the new space technology.
A prototype of the UK’s first ever Lunar Lander – the Spacebit ‘Lunar Lander-Hopper’ will be unveiled at this year’s Dubai Airshow. Built by Spacebit, one of the lunar economy’s brightest stars, the Spacebit ‘Lunar Lander-Hopper’ is due to be developed in the UK, in cooperation with leading aerospace company, Yuzhnoye Design Buro. The Lander-Hopper prototype and a 3D model of the Spider Moon Rover will be displayed by Spacebit on the Yuzhnoye Design Buro stand at the airshow.
The ‘Spider Moon Rover’ is currently in its final development stage and along with tests in the UK, will be tested on suitable grounds similar to the moon’s surface in Abu Dhabi.
While research on a suitable UAE testing location is ongoing, it is presumed that h Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain will provide the ideal terrain needed for the world’s smallest robotic moon rover. This is the first time any lunar exploration vehicle with legs has been sent into space to explore the surface of the moon. With caves or underground ravines that are close in structure to the lunar lava tubes, testing in the UAE will offer the Spacebit team a close assessment on how it will operate as it explores the moon’s surface.
Spacebit CEO and founder, Pavlo Tanasyuk, said: “Our Lunar Lander is different as it incorporates the ability to hop from one landing site to another. It has embedded additional hardware, control and navigation software that will provide further on-surface mobility by repurposing it as a hopper.”
The multi destination lunar lander will be designed to deliver 150kg or more of payload to one landing point on the lunar surface or 50kg or more of payload to up to three remote landing points on the lunar surface with a distance of up to 20 km. What sets the Spacebit Lunar Lander-Hopper apart from other designs is that it can re-land once it has set down on the moon’s surface.
The Spacebit Lunar Lander-Hopper will be deployed to the surface of the moon and, once areas of exploration interest are identified, it will then boost up and re-fly to its newly selected destination. Its design makes it completely terrain-independent and capable of travelling vast distances on the lunar surface faster than conventional on-surface rovers.
The Spacebit Lunar Lander-Hopper will take another two to three years to be fully complete, but the testing of the engines will happen earlier. Lunar landers are required to be fairly robust as the moon has a long solar day and night. Landers can be in direct sunlight for around two weeks at a time and then in complete darkness for another two weeks. This can cause thermal control issues, for which the expertise of Yuzhnoye Design Buro will play a crucial role in overcoming those challenges.
Yuzhnoye Design Buro Head and General Director, Alexander Degtyarev, commented: “This is an exciting partnership for Yuzhnoye Design Buro and Spacebit. We are pleased to be working with Spacebit as part of our new ‘powered by Yuzhnoye’ initiative which lets new space companies such as Spacebit, gain critical space flight expertise much faster by tapping into our existing rich technology base, whilst developing new technologies together.”