Thursday 24 September 2020

UAE set to launch Mars Hope Probe on July 15

ABU DHABI, May 20, 2020

The Emirates Mars Mission, the first interplanetary exploration in the Arab world, said that its Mars Hope Probe will be launched on July 15 at 00:51:27 UAE time, marking the start of a 495,000,000km journey to reach and orbit the Red Planet.

The countdown to the launch begins after the probe’s successful transfer from the UAE to Japan, in a journey that spanned more than 83 hours by land, air and sea.

The Hope probe will be launched from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre, leveraging the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI H2A) platform. The scheduled launch date represents the opening of the launch window for the Emirates Mars Mission, which extends to August 13, 2020.

The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ (MHI H2A) platform was chosen as a result of its proven expertise and reputation in space technology around the world, and its high success rates in launching spacecraft and satellites globally. The UAE, for its part, has previously collaborated with MHI to successfully launch the Khalifa Sat satellite.

Meticulous processing

Since its successful arrival at TNSC in Japan, the Hope Probe has undergone detailed processing operations for the launch. This process completed over 50 working days, entails filling the fuel tank with about 700 kg of hydrogen fuel and ensuring there are no leaks. The process also requires testing the communication and control devices, moving the probe to the launch pad, installing the probe on the rocket that will carry it to space, and ensuring the probe batteries are fully charged.

Sarah Bint Youssef Al-Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences and Emirates Mars Mission Deputy Project Manager, said: “The challenges overcome by the Hope Probe team amidst the global pandemic confirm the UAE mission’s commitment to achieve the impossible. It is a mentality that has now been embedded within the current and future generations. This mission embodies the nation’s aspirations, sends a positive message to the world and demonstrates the importance of carrying on unabated despite barriers and challenges.”

 “Our team continues to work diligently to ensure the mission’s success, and we look forward to collectively celebrate the arrival of the probe on Mars in February 2021 – also coinciding with our 50-year anniversary,” she added.

 83 hours from Dubai to Japan

The first phase of moving the Hope Probe from Dubai involved the preparation and transportation of the probe from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center to Dubai's Al Maktoum International Airport, which spanned 16 hours. The second stage saw the probe’s 11-hour transfer from Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai to Nagoya Airport in Japan and included loading the probe and its supporting equipment into the giant ‘Antonov 12’ plane - the largest cargo plane in the world.

In light of the challenges posed by COVID-19, internationally approved stringent health procedures were followed to safeguard the health and safety of the team in Dubai, as well as the team accompanying the probe on its flight to Japan. In addition, a third team travelled earlier and underwent the mandatory quarantine procedures in Japan prior to receiving the probe upon arrival and oversee its transportation to the launch station.

The third stage was the probe’s transfer from Nagoya Airport to the launch site on Tanegashima Island. It included the probe’s safe landing and land transportation to Shimama Harbor, and its final transfer by sea to Tanegashima Island.

The Hope Probe is anticipated to enter Mars’ orbit in February 2021, coinciding with the UAE's golden jubilee celebrations to mark the historic union of the emirates. – TradeArabia News Service


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