In the esteemed presence of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the UAE has disclosed its collaboration in the creation of a module for NASA’s Lunar Gateway Station. This collaboration includes partnering with the USA, Japan, Canada, and the European Union. Furthermore, as a significant aspect of this groundbreaking project, the UAE is set to dispatch its inaugural Emirati astronaut into lunar orbit, emphasizing its commitment to the historic moment of the First Emirati Astronaut Orbiting the Moon.
The country’s involvement in advancing the Crew and Science Airlock module on the Lunar Gateway Station underscores its commitment to enhancing its global standing in the realms of space science and technology.
During the event at Qasr Al Watan in Abu Dhabi, UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan stated, “The UAE’s engagement in this global initiative signifies our dedication to fostering collaborations with the world that actively contribute to the advancement of knowledge and human progress.”
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan conveyed his pride in the national institutions and teams playing a crucial role in realizing the UAE’s aspirations in the space sector. He reaffirmed the leadership’s unwavering support for continuous engagement in international missions and events, particularly in preparing for the historic mission of the First Emirati Astronaut Orbiting the Moon., emphasizing their role in advancing both the sustainable development of the nation and the global community.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum remarked, “Our trajectory in the space sector is extensive, with a team of highly skilled professionals capable of spearheading the most demanding scientific missions. Our ambition, steadfast and boundless, leaves no room for limits when envisioning the future of our Emirati projects.”
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum emphasized, “This project signifies a momentous mission as humanity endeavors to return to the Moon, land on its surface, and establish it as a base for future missions toward Mars. The Emirati team, working in collaboration with international counterparts, is fully equipped to accomplish this ambitious goal. We stand committed to supporting them by delivering all the vital resources.”
The UAE, as the fifth partner in this endeavor, is set to play a pivotal role in what is anticipated to be one of the most significant international accomplishments of the 21st century. This collaboration marks a historic milestone within the UAE’s impressive array of accomplishments in the space sector.
In partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), this project stands as humanity’s continued purpose to revisit the Moon, marking a return after an absence of more than fifty years. The initiative involves a strategic landing on the Moon’s surface, laying the groundwork for forthcoming missions aimed at the exploration of Mars.
Airlock Features and Specifications
The UAE will spearhead the development of the lunar space station’s Crew and Science Airlock, a pivotal component ensuring the astronauts’ safety within the station. Functioning as the portal of the station, this Airlock will serve as both the entry and exit point for missions and astronauts traveling to the Moon’s surface from the Lunar Gateway Station.
In addition to the development, the UAE will take charge of the administration and function of the station’s Airlock. The Airlock boasts impressive dimensions, with a length of 10 meters, width of 4 meters, and a weight of 10 tonnes. The overall size of the station is an impressive 19 x 20 x 42 meters.
Beyond its role as an entry and exit point, the station will also serve as a sophisticated space laboratory, facilitating a diverse range of scientific and technical experiments. With a minimum lifespan of 15 years, the station is subject to potential extensions, ensuring enduring contributions to space exploration.
Anticipated to launch its first elements by 2025, the Emirates Airlock is scheduled for launch by 2030, marking a significant milestone in the UAE’s ambitious space exploration endeavors.
Airlock Project Phases
The Airlock’s development will progress through five key stages, each integral to its successful completion –
1. Planning Stage – Objectives, strategies, and project partners will be identified, laying the groundwork for the creation of the Airlock module.
2. Design Phase – Intricate techniques and specifications for the Airlock unit’s components will be developed, facilitating their seamless assembly.
3. Qualification Process – Rigorous testing and qualification of the Airlock unit’s components will take place, ensuring their reliability and safety under the demanding conditions of space.
4. Flight Preparation – This phase involves the meticulous preparation and launching of the space components, culminating in their integration into the Lunar Gateway Station.
5. Operations Stage – The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) will assume the crucial role of managing, maintaining, and operating the Airlock. This ensures its effective functionality as an integral part of the Gateway, contributing to the success of the overall mission.
Artemis: A Mission to Explore New Horizons
At the forefront of NASA’s endeavors, the mission “Artemis” stands as a pivotal initiative with the aim of returning humans to the Moon and establishing bearable, long-term lunar missions. This ambitious undertaking is anticipated to yield invaluable insights into lunar resources, cutting-edge technologies, and the intricacies of living and working on another celestial body, thereby significantly advancing our comprehension of the Moon, Mars, and the vast expanses of the universe.
A crucial component of the Artemis mission is the Lunar Gateway Station, representing humanity’s inaugural space station orbiting the Moon. Constructed through collaborative efforts with international and commercial partners, the Gateway plays a vital role in providing essential functions to support astronaut health and mission objectives.
The Gateway’s capabilities extend to enabling prolonged astronaut stays, enhancing communication with the lunar surface, and facilitating studies on solar and cosmic radiation. These elements align with the overarching vision of the Artemis program, fostering lunar exploration and laying the groundwork for future missions to Mars, as humanity continues to push the boundaries of space exploration.
UAE’s Transformative Contribution to the Gateway Project
The UAE’s integral role in the Gateway project signifies a momentous stride in international space collaboration, propelling the nation into a central leadership position within the global space community of the future.
Securing a permanent seat, the UAE is poised to make significant scientific contributions to the largest program for lunar and space exploration. Positioned among the trailblazers, the UAE will pioneer sending an astronaut to the Moon, granting it priority access to cutting-edge scientific and engineering data accumulated by the station, further enriching its pursuit of knowledge.
The Gateway serves as a cornerstone for sustained exploration and research in deep space, offering docking ports for a variety of visiting spacecraft, living and working spaces for crews preparing for lunar surface missions lasting up to 90 days, and onboard science investigations spanning heliophysics, human health, life sciences, and other critical areas. The UAE’s involvement is set to leave an indelible mark on the landscape of space exploration and scientific inquiry.