UAE’s Mars probe – Hope – readies for July 2020 launch

By Rajive Singh

85% of Hope Probe project completed

DUBAI 23 April 2019: The UAE Space Agency and Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) announced that 85% of the Hope [Mars] Probe project has been completed.

Less than 500 days remain for the launch in July 2019. It is planned to reach Mars by 2021, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE.

In a joint statement, the two organisations confirmed that most of the main parts of the project have been completed and are currently undergoing intensive testing to ensure every aspect of the probe is ready for activation a few months before the launch date.

Several aspects related to the design, assembly of the structure, cameras and control have been verified. So far, the probe’s systems and components, as well as its ability to communicate with the ground station have been checked by the team. The probe has succeeded in all the tests it has been subject to so far, ahead of the five environmental tests to be conducted on the probe from June to December 2019.

The scientific devices the probe will be using, including The Emirates eXploration imager (EXI), Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (Emus), and the Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer (Emirs), are ready. The Emus has been successfully mounted on the probe. These devices are key to achieving the objectives of the scientific mission, which is a deeper and wider understanding of the Martian atmosphere, and the study of climate change and its relationship to atmospheric erosion, which was one of the reasons for the disappearance of liquid water from the surface of the planet.

Mars Atmosphere

Another unique aspect of this mission is that for the first time, a Mars exploration project will be able to take a global picture of the Martian atmosphere. It will do so by taking an integrated picture of the atmosphere throughout the day and for a long period of time, helping to capture data on the planet’s atmosphere in different seasons across the year. This data will be made available to the global community.

Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said: “The Emirates Mars Mission’s Hope Probe is almost complete. The UAE is on the verge of making history, after turning its dream of becoming the first Arabic and Islamic country to send a spacecraft to Mars into reality. This monumental endeavour is the culmination of the efforts of a skilled and experienced team of young Emiratis, who with the support of the nation and its visionary leadership will secure the UAE’s position at the forefront of space exploration and the international space sector.”

MBRSC is responsible for the implementation and supervision of EMM – Hope Probe, and its various scientific, educational and awareness initiatives. The centre is also responsible for the execution and supervision of all stages of the design, development and launch of the Hope Probe in 2020. The UAE Space Agency (UAESA) is funding and supervising procedures and necessary details for the implementation of this project. Following a journey of seven months, the Probe is expected to enter the Red Planet’s orbit in 2021, coinciding with the Golden Jubilee of the Union.

The objectives of the Emirates Mars Mission – Hope Probe were developed in accordance with Mepag, the global scientific community specialised in Mars exploration and coordinated with international entities to ensure the best results.

This will be an important addition to the global efforts to explore space and the surrounding planets. For the first time, a Mars exploration project will be able to take a global picture of the Martian atmosphere. It will do so by taking an integrated picture of the atmosphere throughout the day and for a long period of time, helping to create an better understanding of the planet’s atmosphere in different seasons of the year.

Dubai Gazette