First Arab Mars Mission – Story Part-01

A young Arab nation, a red planet, a historic mission and a thousand dreams

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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UAE Mars Mission
Image Courtesy: Emirates Mars Mission website

Nobody can keep calm as UAE is set to launch its mission “Hope Probe” to Mars in the early hours of Friday, July 17th. There is so much to know about this historic and risky mission that UAE has undertaken in an astonishing time frame of just six years.

This is our first article in a series of comprehensive reports where we explain to you each and every aspect of the UAE’s Mars Mission. You can read the later articles in the series from the link below.

15 July 2019: First Arab Mars Mission – Story Part – 02

16 July 2019: First Arab Mars Mission – Story Part – 03

21 July 2019: First Arab Mars Mission – Story Part – 04

Scheduled to blast off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre (TNSC) aboard Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ H-IIA rocket on 15th July, the date had to be postponed due to unfavorable weather conditions as it plays a crucial role in the launch.

What’s in the name?

The first interplanetary Arab mission that aims to orbit Mars, UAE Hope Probe has named its autonomous spaceship Al Amal in Arabic. This Arabic term translates to “Hope” and hope is what the team behind the mission wants it to spread.

A hope to the youth of Emirates and beyond, that a new era is here. An era of science, technology and spacecraft where everything is possible. The message brings renewed aspirations to a region that is in turmoil.

What does the mission aim to achieve?

The orbital spacecraft will monitor Mars, its atmosphere on a day to day and season to season basis across the planet for over 687 days which is one year in Mars. This is a first for any Mars mission globally.

It is likely to collect over 1,000 GB of new data and this will be shared free of charge with over 200 academic and research institutions around the world.

What’s up with this particular time period?

The three-week launch window starts on July 15, UAE time, and closes around August 3 and it’s critical that the probe is launched during this period as the Earth and Mars are the closest during the time frame. This happens for about a month every two years and on missing this opportunity, the team has to wait for another two years to reach Mars.

It is expected to reach the orbit of Mars in February 2021 as UAE commemorates the 50 years of its formation.

What is the UAE’s mission with this launch?

To improve the quality of life on earth by pushing the limits to make new discoveries, to demonstrate leadership in space research, to encourage global collaboration in Mars exploration, to build Emirati capabilities in the field of interplanetary exploration, to inspire future Arab generations to pursue space science, to build scientific knowledge and to establish the UAE’s position as a beacon of progress in the region.

The timeline of the mission:

2014 – Announcement of the mission
2015  – Preliminary design
2016 – Review of preliminary
2017 – Critical design review
2018 – Development and assembly
2019 – Testing
2020 – Launch and cruise
2021 – Mars orbit and science operations (until 2023)
2024 – Extended science operations

Who built it?

A team of 150 engineers from the Emirates has collaborated with scientists and engineers from three American universities including University of California Berkeley, University of Colorado and Arizona State University for the Hope Probe

The road to Mars is expected to be quite busy this year:

There are seven confirmed missions, including Hope Probe, through 2024, and at least a dozen until the mid-2040s. There are two launches scheduled for July alone including China that will launch the Tianwen-1 between July 20 and July 25 and the United States’ Mars 2020 that is set for a July 30 launch.

GCC Business News’s comprehensive coverage on UAE’s historic Mars Mission will keep you updated on each and every aspect of the probe’s journey. Please come back for more every day to read articles in the series and stay updated on the mission’s progress. 


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