UAE begins countdown to Mars Probe launch

By Eudore R. Chand

Hope Probe is an accomplishment for every Arab and a source of pride for every Emirati: Mohammed bin Rashid

DUBAI 2 July 2020: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has reviewed the final preparations of the Hope Probe, scheduled to launch to Mars on 15th July.

The lift-off is scheduled on Wednesday July 15, 2020 at 00:51:27 UAE timing from Tanegashima Space Centre. The unmanned probe is expected to enter Mars’ orbit on February 2021, marking the UAE’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations.

The journey of transferring the Hope Probe from Dubai to the launch site in Tanegashima Island in Japan, remained on track despite Covid-19 complications. But it spanned more than 83 hours and underwent three major stages.

The Hope Probe is currently undergoing extensive testing operations at the launch station in Japan. A team of specialised young Emirati engineers are currently supervising the probe’s pre-launch preparations.

The probe will provide the first truly global picture of the Martian atmosphere and its layers. It will gather scientific data on the Martian atmosphere and share it freely with scientific and academic partners around the world. The data will give deeper insights into the past and future of our own planet and the potential of life for humans on Mars and on other distant planets. Three advanced science instruments mounted on the probe will capture complete data from Mars.

The Emirates Mars Mission will study why Mars is losing its upper atmosphere and explore the connection between lower and upper layers of the atmosphere. It will also be the first probe to study climate throughout daily and seasonal cycles, observing weather phenomena such as dust storms, changes in temperature, and changes in the Martian atmosphere patterns depending on topography. The probe will reveal the causes of Martian surface corrosion.

Historic mission to answer key questions

The historic mission will coordinate with the global Mars science community to answer key questions that no other mission has previously addressed around the Red Planet.

The Emirates Mars Mission’s Hope Probe is considered the biggest strategic and scientific national initiative announced by UAE’s President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in 2014. The space mission aims to build a space industry in the UAE as part of the country’s vision to invest in future knowledge-based economies. The UAE Space Agency is funding and supervising necessary details for implementation, while the MBRSC is responsible for the execution and supervision of all stages of the design, development, and the launch of the Hope Probe.

The meeting yesterday was chaired by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and President of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), as the countdown begins for the UAE’s much-anticipated historic launch to the Red Planet in the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.

The Emirates Mars Mission seeks to establish the UAE’s entry to the space industry, advance the country’s capabilities in space science and engineering and develop young Emirati and Arab talent capable of contributing to global efforts in space exploration, said Wam.

Hope Probe embodies the culture of possibilities

“The Hope Probe embodies the culture of possibilities deeply rooted in the UAE’s approach, philosophy and journey of accelerating development since the foundation,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

“Our journey to space represents a message of hope to every Arab citizen that we have the innovation, resilience and efforts to compete with the greatest of nations in the race for knowledge.”

“Hope Probe is an accomplishment for every Arab, a source of pride for every Emirati, and a path-breaking achievement for our engineers.

“The UAE will continue deploying its efforts and resources and collaborating with nations to build a better future for humanity,” Sheikh Mohammed concluded.

Sheikh Mohammed met the Emirates Mars Mission team as the country prepares for the probe’s launch from Tanegashima island in Japan, set according to schedule despite challenges posed by the novel coronavirus global outbreak.

Final pre-launch preparations

He was briefed on the final pre-launch preparations by Omran Sharaf, Project Director of the Emirates Mars Mission, who also explained the different tasks assigned to the team leading testing operations. The Dubai-based space mission’s control team are coordinating efforts from the MBRSC with the launch team in Japan who will soon be joined by Emirati engineers and experts to manage and oversee the launch.

The meeting was also attended by Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, Dr. Ahmed Belhoul, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the MBRSC and Saeed Al Eter, Director General of the Ruler of Dubai’s Executive Office.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said, “Hope Probe highlights our national treasure of hundreds of young Emirati engineers and experts working on the mission. These young people are part of drafting a beautiful chapter in the UAE’s future.”

He added, “Despite challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, we remained committed to our plans to meet the launch schedule of the historic space mission, in efforts have truly reflected the UAE’s slogan that the impossible is possible.” He noted, “The Hope Probe represents a message of hope and optimism to mankind. Our space mission is aimed at serving humanity.”


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