The UAE Space Agency and Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre have announced the successful launch of homegrown probe Hope on a space mission to Mars.
The probe left Earth today when it was blasted out of the atmosphere on a Japanese H-IIA rocket, before beginning a 200-day journey to the red planet.
Upon its arrival to Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre, the Hope Probe went through many tests and preparations to ensure it would achieve success on its journey. This included filling the fuel tank with about 800kg of hydrogen fuel, checking the tank to ensure that it has no leaks, as well as checking the communications systems, moving the spacecraft to the launch pad and charging the batteries.
Tests also included the craft’s subsystems, such as measuring the electrical power, communication, altitude control, command and control, propulsion, thermal control and software systems.
The Ground Control Team in the UAE is monitoring the functions of the Probe to ensure that all systems are working properly throughout the journey.
It will take seven months to travel the 493 million km to Mars, meaning the Hope Probe is expected to reach its Mars orbit in February 2021, marking the 50th anniversary of the UAE.
The probe will remain orbiting Mars for an entire Martian year, (687 days), to gather sufficient data. A single orbit around Mars will take the probe 55 hours.
The Hope Probe team will communicate and share findings with the global Mars science community on key questions that no other mission has addressed before.