Saudi Arabia and China have partnered to explore the far side of the moon, launching a relay satellite earlier this week equipped with a payload for a space sensory system developed by Saudi Arabia. This joint venture between both nations aims at studying and exploring the moon in order to provide scientific data for researchers and specialists in space research and science.
This venture follows a memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries during a visit by King Salman on March 16 last year, according to Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The system, developed as part of an agreement between Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology (KACST) and the China National Space Administration, includes an optical camera for filming and taking photos of the Moon. According to Arab News, the payload’s photographic and data processing units, among others, are capable of taking photos from different angles and altitudes that vary according to lunar orbit changes.
To mark the occasion, Saudi Gazette reported that Dr. Turki Bin Saud Bin Mohammed, President of KACST spoke on the process and challenges faced by the team, and he also touched on the significance of Saudi Arabia’s participation in this landmark event.
“The payload was readied in a record time of no more than 12 months during which the Saudi research team faced numerous challenges, most prominent of which was the importance of manufacturing a compact payload with a high capacity of less than 10.5 cu.cm and a weight of no more than 630 grams on the Chinese satellite,” the KACST head explained.
“Saudi Arabia's taking part in this great event would boost, no doubt, its efforts to develop its satellite technologies and use it in several fields of reconnaissance and distance censoring as well as space telecommunications, in addition to proceeding with the march of catching the world race in this field,” continued the Prince.