On the right track: Hope probe perfectly completes a crucial step

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Hope Mars Mission Launch
Hope Probe lifted off on 20th July

The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) an Arab nation’s first interplanetary mission, announced the successful completion of TCM1 – the first maneuver for trajectory correction.

TCM1 is a crucial process that keeps Hope on the right path towards Mars.

This marks a significant milestone for the project as the Mars Hope probe continues its seven-month journey to Mars.

“TCM1 was a major milestone for us, not only because it is the first time we have deployed the spacecraft’s Delta-V thruster but also because it defines our path to cruise Mars,” said Omran Sharaf, project director of EMM.

Hope lifted off on July 20 from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre. Since then, it has been on an ‘exceptionally accurate trajectory’ which has exceeded even the EMM team’s expectations.

When a spacecraft is sent out into space, some deviations are anticipated in its course. Constraints, which are part of the protocols of planetary protocols, often restrict it from taking its desired course at the beginning of a mission.

Hence, trajectory control manoeuvres are carried out during the flight.

During its 493 million-kilometre journey to Mars, Hope is predicted to make about seven TCMs. It is expected to enter the orbit of the Red Planet in February 2021.

In order to build the first complete picture of the Martian environment, Hope carries three instruments to assess the atmosphere of the planet and collect data that no other project has been able to gather.

For the first time, scientists at more than 200 universities and research institutes worldwide would have access throughout various seasons to a holistic view of the Martian atmosphere at different times of the day. This research would help the world better compare and understand Earth’s climate, experts said.

The Emirates Mars Mission is part of an integrated long-term effort to create economic opportunity around space science, research, and exploration leadership and to reduce the nation’s dependency on the oil sector.