UAE’s Mars Hope probe passes the 100-million kilometre milestone

The Emirates Mars Mission, the first interplanetary exploration undertaken by an Arab nation, this week announced its Mars Hope probe has completed a fifth of its historic journey to the Red Planet.

This means it has now journeyed over 100-million kilometres since its delayed, but successful, launch from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre on the 20 July.

First test of the propulsion system

“We have accomplished our first trajectory correction manoeuvre, which was the first test of Mars Hope’s propulsion and trajectory control systems, as well as the first time the spacecraft’s six Delta-V thrusters have been activated,” said Omran Sharaf, Project Director for the mission.

“That 21-second burn put us firmly on track towards Mars. We’re delighted with the performance of Mars Hope so far.”

Travelling at a speed of around 121 000 km/h, the Mars Hope probe will perform a number of further trajectory control manoeuvres to reach its scheduled Mars Orbit Insertion in early February 2021.

Slow down by more than 100 000km/h

A critical time for the mission, orbital insertion involves slowing the spacecraft to 18 000 km/h over a 30-minute period, during which its thrusters will burn almost half of the onboard reserve of Hydrazine fuel.

If successful, this will place the Mars Hope probe in its Mars Capture Orbit before a period of instrument and systems testing, followed by a transition to its Science Orbit.

The Emirates Mars Mission and the Hope probe are the culmination of a knowledge transfer and development effort started in 2006, which has seen engineers from the UAE working with partners around the world to develop the spacecraft’s design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities.

Create economic opportunity in region

It is part of a long-term integrated effort to create economic opportunity through leadership in space sciences, research and exploration.

The mission is focused on atmospheric dynamics. The probe will explore the atmosphere of Mars globally while sampling both daily and seasonal timescales.

The probe’s unique, elliptical orbit will support the first global picture of Mars’ weather. For the first time, scientists based in over 200 universities and research institutes globally will have access to a holistic view of the Martian atmosphere at different times of the day, through different seasons.

A very complex space mission for UAE

Despite not landing on Mars’ surface, the mission is very complex, far trickier than the UAE’s previous space involvement.

The UAE has already launched three earth observation satellites, initially in conjunction with South Korea. Last year it sent an astronaut, Hazzaa al-Mansoori, to the International Space Station. Protection Status

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