On Sunday the United Arab Emirates successfully launched its Mars-bound Hope Probe, marking the first interplanetary mission of the Arab world — and the first of three international Red Planet missions this summer.
The Hope Probe took off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Complex, following a break due to bad weather last week. Successfully the solid rocket booster separated from the launch vehicle, and the probe formed two-way contact with the Dubai ground section.
The Hope Probe
The Al Amal probe is expected to reach Mars by February 2021, as it’s called in Arabic. This will be the first time Mars has been orbited by the UAE. And the spacecraft will remain in space for a Martian year. It’s equal to 687 days on Earth — to collect data on the atmosphere of Mars.
“It is a pleasure to be part of the collective endeavor to reach deep space”. The official account of the Hope Mars Mission tweeted at the launch. “The Hope Probe is the culmination of every single step that humans have taken in reaching the mysterious reaches of space throughout history.”
Starting this year, the United States and China embark on flights to Mars. The Perseverance Rover from NASA and the Tianwen 1 from China are also scheduled to launch somewhere in late July and early August. But the precise date will depend on the regular start conditions.
Such three countries are all launching this summer as a biennial period exists when Earth and Mars are nearest to each other. Making the trip a little shorter.
After Hope ‘s positive flight, NASA also tweeted her congratulations. Posting on Perseverance’s official Twitter page. “I wish you a good journey and look forward to the sol when we both visit Mars. I can’t wait to join you on the path!”
The Hope Probe is the new and most ambitious also move taken by the UAE in their nascent space business.
Previous to — in 2009 and 2013 — satellites were launched by the UAE, but established with South Korean partners. In 2014, the nation established its space agency and set ambitious targets including a Martian surface colony by 2117.