The United Arab Emirates finally launched its Mission to Mars on 20th July; the first mission to the Red Planet from the Arab world. After being delayed twice previously due to bad weather conditions, the Hope Probe was finally launched from Tanegashima Island in Japan at 1:58am UAE time and will be making a 7-month journey of 493,500,000km, orbiting Mars to study the atmosphere, recording daily and seasonal changes in the weather on the planet.
The mission, first announced in 2014, is an effort to develop the UAE’s scientific and technological capabilities, reducing the economy’s reliance on oil. The country launched its National Space Programme in 2017 in order to build local expertise in this sector and has the goal of having a Mars settlement by 2117.
In September 2019, Hazza al-Mansouri became the first Emirati astronaut to fly to the International Space Station. To build the $200 million Hope Probe spacecraft, a team of Emiratis and Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai worked with three US universities. The MBRSC will now be supervising the entire journey of the spacecraft, which is travelling at an average speed of 121,000 km per hour. The Ground Control Team at MBRSC will be monitoring the Probe to ensure that all its systems are functioning properly.
The Hope Probe transmitted its first signal from space at 3:10 am, after its solar panels were deployed to charge its batteries following its release from the rocket at 2:55 am. It is expected to reach its Mars orbit by February 2021. More details of the mission will be shared at a press conference on Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, congratulatory messages are pouring in from all over the world for this historic achievement. Check out these social media posts:
The UAE has been very transparent about their goals behind the #HopeMarsMission: They recognize the need to prepare their economy for a post-oil world, and saw investing in STEM as the way to do that—with space being an inspirational way to do so.https://t.co/lE0m6COZFn
— Dr. Tanya Harrison (@tanyaofmars) July 19, 2020
Good luck, @HopeMarsMission as you begin your journey to the Red Planet! 🚀 We can’t wait to see you out there, and are proud to carry communications for your mission via the Deep Space Network: https://t.co/Wd52CQMs6q pic.twitter.com/MA6DTtfBXb
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) July 19, 2020
Congrats to the team that worked on @HopeMarsMission. It’s truly amazing what @UAESpaceAgency & @MBRSpaceCentre have accomplished in such a short time. Hope is exactly what the world needs and thank you to the UAE & @MHI_Group for inspiring all of us: https://t.co/cZ389gpzdR pic.twitter.com/ktLsIDzWsq
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) July 19, 2020
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) July 19, 2020
— ♌︎ (@mraymmm_) July 19, 2020
— Doctor Proctor (@DrSianProctor) July 19, 2020
— ُ (@Razanalbshri) July 19, 2020