48th National Day, Abu Dhabi

Flying moons for a spectacular ceremony

NEWSUBSTANCE were engaged by Betty Productions to deliver 12, two metre wide, internally-lit moons for the UAE’s 48th National Day ceremony at the Sports Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. Artistic Direction and Production by Catherine Ugwu.

The technical parameters involved in the design of the moons were more complex than first anticipated due to the system of rigging and lighting requirements.

The moons were battery powered with a rotating central baffle to enable the creation of the phasing of each moon individually with a remote controlled DMX lighting array running full RGBW LED. This allowed for each moon to transition through a full lunar cycle.

— Client

Betty Productions

— Location

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.

The shells were created from blown acrylic spheres and were hand finished and coated in a high resolution vinyl graphic sourced from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.


The single point rig involved in their flying meant that a motor driven slewing ring mechanism had to be invented to keep them in the correct rotational orientation via an electronic compass built into the control board.