The United Arab Emirates shows a mission that will land on an asteroid

in Popular STEM4 months ago

(UAE Space Agency

The United Arab Emirates presented a detailed flight plan and the appearance of its second space probe.

It will be launched in 2028 and fly around six main belt asteroids, and it will try to land a small device on the seventh.

The project is being run by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center and the University of Colorado's Atmospheric and Space Physics Laboratory, which previously helped the UAE build the Al Amal spacecraft for Mars exploration.

Initially announced in 2021, the targets for the station were chosen in early May of this year.

On May 29, the United Arab Emirates presented a detailed project plan and named it MBR Explorer, in honor of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

The total mass of the station will be 2300 kilograms, it will take six years to create it.

The craft will be powered by deployable, circular, solar arrays, much like those of NASA's Lucy station, as well as electric and hydrazine propulsion.

The payload will include two cameras (one of which will be navigation), two spectrometers and a small lander.

The Italian Space Agency will provide one of the spectrometers, while Malin Space Science Systems will build both cameras.

The assembly of the station may be carried out in the USA.

The launch window for the MBR Explorer will be open for three weeks, starting March 3, 2028, and in July 2028 the vehicle will perform a gravity maneuver near Venus.

This will be followed by a similar maneuver near the Earth in May 2029.

After that, the probe will fly at a distance of about 150 kilometers past the asteroids

  • Westerwald (in February 2030)
  • Chimera (in June 2030)
  • Rockox (in January 2031)

In September 2031, the MBR Explorer will perform a gravity assist near Mars, followed by close flybys of asteroids

  • VA28 (July 2032)
  • RC76 (December 2032)
  • SG6 (August 2033)

The final goal will be Justitia, this body could have formed beyond the orbit of Neptune, and then fall into the Main Belt.

The station will reach the asteroid in October 2034, and an attempt to land a lander on it is scheduled for May 2035.


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